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A hot ticket

[Saturday afternoon] The event is scheduled to start at 3 p.m., but more than half of the 425 chairs are filled at 2 p.m. by family and friends dressed in their finest. I lost count of the photographers but try to I.D. the ones representing the media for follow-up later. Half of the back wall is occupied by TV cameras. Ravalomanana’s security people specify how close photographers and videographers can get to the stage, reminding us of the presence of a head of state. Similar but far more stringent rules were set back in Abilene by U.S. Secret Service assigned to protect Ravalomanana when he attended ACU’s May Commencement. Hotel staff bring more chairs from other rooms, but run out of space. It’s standing-room-only along the venue’s perimeter. The final attendance is determined to be 625.