Clashes broke out between protesters and security forces during demonstrations against the enforcement of lockdown measures in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Toamasina (Atsinanana region) on Wednesday, June 3. The demonstrators burned tires and threw projectiles at police officers, who responded by firing rubber bullets. The protests erupted after a police officer allegedly beat a street vendor who was accused of violating restrictions on commercial activities. Some residents are also frustrated that lockdown measures remain in place in the city. President Andre Rajoelina imposed lockdown measures in Antananarivo, Fianarantsoa (Haute Matsiatra region), and Toamasina at the end of March. Restrictions have since been gradually eased in the capital and Fianarantsoa but remain in place in Toamasina.
Further demonstrations and associated unrest are likely in the near term.
Individuals in Toamasina are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all protests and demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate localized transportation disruptions, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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