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Togo opposition protests to restart; Canada, U.S. issue security alert

Togo opposition protests to restart; Canada, U.S. issue security alert


The Canadian and United States governments on Tuesday issued security alerts to its citizens ahead of fresh opposition protests in Togo.

Opposition parties have called for two days of anti-government protests in the country, starting Wednesday October 18 to Thursday the 19th.

Today’s protest means that the opposition coalition is defying a government order banning protests during the weekdays. The government last week said protests will be allowed only on weekends.

The U.S. termed the rallies as ‘unauthorized’ in line with the government ban but cautioned citizens about being safety conscious of their surroundings at every point.

“The U.S. Embassy has received reports that several Togolese opposition political parties have called for unauthorized protests on October 18 and 19, beginning in the morning each day.

“Protesters are expected to use a number of routes in areas of central, northern, and northeastern Lomé. Major traffic disruptions are likely in Lomé, and public bus and private taxi services may be interrupted,” the statement read in part.

The Canadian alert just like that of the U.S. referenced Tuesday’s violent incident in the northern town of Sokode after the arrest of an Imam.

“Political demonstrations occur frequently, especially in Lomé, and can turn violent with little warning. Violent incidents occurred in Sokodé on October 17, 2017, and marches are expected to take place in Lomé on October 18 and 19.

“During large-scale demonstrations, telecommunications and transportation can be disrupted. Avoid demonstrations and large gatherings, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities,” the statement read.

Opposition parties are calling for an immediate end to the Gnassingbe ruling dynasty that has ruled the country for five decades. Eyadema rules for 38 years till his death in 2005. His son and successor has been in charge for the last twelve years.

His current mandate secured in 2015 runs till 2020 when he is eligible for another term. Reforms by the government by way of term limits have been flatly rejected by opposition who want the term limits to apply to incumbent Faure Gnassingbe in retrospect.

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