The strike of demonstrators opposing QMM’s ilmenite mining activities ended up causing injuries yesterday. The situation has been complicated for more than a week in the capital of the Anosy region.
A dozen injured and arrests according to the latest details from last night. This is the assessment of the day of the scuffles between the police and the demonstrators in the morning of yesterday Monday in Taolagnaro. The Joint Design Body (OMC) of the Anosy region has decided to dismantle the dam erected in Mandena, at the level of the access to the mining company’s operating plant. According to sources at the level of the police, the access leading to the factory is also a national road and that it was therefore necessary to break the dam and the human fence put in place by the demonstrators for a week. “The demonstrators threw stones first when they saw the advance of the elements of the security forces whose objective was to remove the barricades” advances a source. The response was manifested by tear gas bombs from the mixed elements of the police. Two members of the security forces and eight from the ranks of the demonstrators were injured and sent to hospital. A certain calm returned towards the afternoon and according to sources, elements of the forces of order were posted at the level of Maroamalina and Mandena.
QMM employees, on the other hand, are reported to be still stuck at the Mandena factory. It is from there that the electricity supply for the city of Taolagnaro is organized, which is why staff are always present. Last weekend, wanted notices were launched against two individuals, indicated by the gendarmerie as the main leaders of the strike started on June 26th. The two individuals, belonging to the association Lutte pour le Sud (Lusud) would not be present in Taolagnaro, according to sources. The origin of the strike is announced by the demonstrators as the insalubrity of the water surrounding the site of the company. This would be toxic and diseases would be recorded. In addition, the decisions underlined in the Council of Ministers concerning the activities of QMM are not to the taste of some fifteen thousand people living in the Anôsy region. The tax provisions of the establishment agreement between the State and QMM have been added to other parameters which are not suitable for the Lusud association and its members and non-members. The association is asking for the cancellation of the environmental license and outright the right to practice of QMM.
The Council of Ministers decided to extend the tax provisions by tacit agreement for 25 years. The State has also requested large sums in dollars as a contribution from QMM to the social and economic life of the region, such as the repair of the RN13 or even advances in dividends. “All these demonstrations are, I think, pressures to be carried out around QMM which has limited its financial compensation to those who are really entitled. The company has already compensated fishermen, owners of land or fruit trees, sorted according to specific criteria carried out with the State,” explains a source. “Furthermore, apart from the financial questions demanded here and there, whether by concerned residents or not, politicians, authorities, QMM has always been sung about and will be so as long as it is there,” the source continues. Parliament is currently examining the provisions of the establishment agreement recently proposed by the government. Which explains this.
Journalists mistreated in Taolagnaro
Three journalists were mistreated by demonstrators when they tried to go down to Maroamalina on June 28. Although they explained the purpose of their report, demonstrators threatened them with death with spears and sharp objects. The journalists were kidnapped for an hour because the demonstrators took them for arms suppliers to the Anosy region. The Order of Journalists of Madagascar denounces the behavior of these demonstrators and asks the strike leaders to control their members so that there is not this kind of intimidation which brought near death to local journalists.