Safety and Security
In March 2009, the democratically elected government of Madagascar resigned in actions that the U.S. government has termed a coup d’état. Internationally observed presidential and parliamentary elections are currently scheduled for October 25 and December 20, 2013, but spontaneous protests remain possible, particularly in Antananarivo.
Travelers should maintain security awareness at all times and avoid political gatherings and street demonstrations. Certain large gatherings, such as concerts or scenes of accidents, also may pose a threat to foreigners. In September 2013, the U.S. Embassy prohibited U.S. government personnel from visiting or transiting l’Avenue de l’Independence in downtown Antananarivo, after multiple explosive devices were either found or detonated in central Antananarivo.
Travel in the provincial areas is generally safe but caution should be exercised at all times. At the start of the political crisis in January 2009, a number of provincial capitals experienced political demonstrations that had, on occasion, become violent and resulted in clashes with security forces and looting. A number of national highways connecting provincial cities and the capital experienced temporary road blocks by political demonstrators resulting in travel delays.
There are random police vehicle checkpoints throughout Madagascar, so all visitors should carry photo identification (residency card, U.S. passport) in the event of police questioning. These checkpoints are routine in nature, and should not result in vehicle and/or person searches as long as valid identification is shown.