News24

Huge rally in Togo

2012-07-22 12:34

Lome - Several thousands of anti-government demonstrators rallied in Togo's capital on Saturday to protest what they say is a crackdown on the opposition movement.

The small West African nation, ruled by one family for the past four decades, has since last month seen a series of protests launched by a coalition of opposition parties. Dozens of people have been arrested.

On 14 July, security forces raided the home of one of the movement's leaders, Jean Pierre Fabre, who heads the National Alliance for Change party (ANC). The officers fired teargas and injured some of the occupants.

Four of the officers involved in the raid have been formally reprimanded, the security ministry said on Wednesday.

Another opposition leader and former prime minister who has led some of the protests, Agbeyome Kodjo, was also briefly detained last month.

Fabre's ANC called the protest on Saturday, which ended without incident.

Defeat the regime

"The population needs to mobilise to defeat this regime, which does not respect the constitution and human rights," Fabre told AFP.

Amid the protests, the former French colony has also seen a government reshuffle, following the sudden resignation of prime minister Gilbert Houngbo on 11 July.

On Thursday, President Faure Gnassingbe named his commerce minister, Kwesi Ahoomey-Zunu, to lead the new government.

Gnassingbe took over the presidency in 2005 following the death of his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for 38 years with an iron fist.

Gnassingbe then defeated Fabre in Togo's 2010 presidential elections, although the opposition said the process was flawed.

Legislative polls are slated to be held in October but no date has been given yet, and opposition groups say more time is needed install measures to guarantee a clean vote.