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Togolese opposition calls for renewed series of anti-government protests

Togolese opposition calls for renewed series of anti-government protests

Togo

Togolese opposition parties have called for another series of protests this week after last week’s peaceful protests calling for the return of the original 1992 Constitution that stipulates a two five-year term limit for presidents as well as a two-round voting system.

The coalition of 14 opposition parties called on their supporters to come out on November 16, 17 and 18 to push for their demands which includes the introduction of diaspora voting, launch of an independent inquiry into the deaths of protesters, the immediate release of political detainees and the cessation of arrests and persecution.

The November 7,8 and 9 round of protests were held under new measures taken by the government including the invitation of “neutral observers” from the civil society to observe protests and give vivid accounts; and the withdrawal of plainclothes security officers from protests to “avoid controversies” and deaths.

The coalition said in a statement that their leaders will join the protests in the northern towns of Sokodé, Bafilo and Mango where tensions are high. Spokesperson for the group, Eric Dupuy said they will defy the government’s order not to lead the protests in the towns.

At least 16 people were killed at the start of the nationwide protest in August.

President Faure Gnassingbe who is being asked to resign has said that he was an elected leader yet social media is being used to portray him as a “bloodthirsty dictator”.

The government has called for a dialogue with the opposition which stated clearly that it’s not yet ready to sit down for talks.

A bill was tabled before parliament by the cabinet during the early September round of demonstrations to reinstate the term limits which were struck out by the father of Faure Gnassingbe before his death.

The opposition rejected the draft bill to modify Article 59 of the constitution which has maintained the exclusion of the clause that says “no one can serve more than two terms”.

They believe it is a ploy to allow Faure, who is serving his third term, to attempt a fourth in 2020.

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