'Unrest killing business'

Tens of thousands took to the streets in demonstrations last week but public appetite for full-blown strikes seems to have dwindled as Antananarivo residents struggle to find work and buy food.

"It is right to protest when things are not right. But people also need to eat," Russel Ludovic, a shoe polish seller, told the Associated Press.

"The unrest is killing business."

With the political crisis spilling into a second week, multinational corporations could also be re-assessing Madagascar's reputation as a sound destination for their investments.

The mayor said he would petition the courts and parliament to remove Ravalomanana as president.

Addressing the president, he said: "I beg you to give up power now. It's still not too late."

He also said he would tour the island nation to explain his position.

AU condemnation

But the African Union (AU) has condemned the attempt to oust the president.

"Efforts to remove democratically-elected governments from power are unacceptable," Jakaya Kikwete, the former AU chairman and president of Tanzania, told a summit of AU leaders in Ethiopia.

"We are saddened by developments in Madagascar. We call upon those who use violence, who fuel instability to topple governments, to respect democratic principles."