Avoid Madagascar, U.S. Warns

Associated Press

The State Department has warned Americans to stay away from Madagascar because demonstrations there have turned violent and gangs of youths have been attacking foreigners in the capital, Antananarivo.

A general strike aimed at forcing out President Didier Ratsiraka went into its fourth day Friday in the island republic off the east coast of Africa.

About 300 Americans reportedly live in the country; 70 more are connected with the U.S. government.

The State Department said in its warning that a curfew has been imposed in the capital and its suburbs. Violent street crime was reported to have risen dramatically, particularly against expatriates. Americans already in the city should avoid downtown, it said.

The department noted that the airport may be closed and flights curtailed. Strikes may disrupt other services, and there are fuel shortages in many areas.

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