'Live ammo' used to disperse Togo rally

2010-10-10 17:01

Lome - Togo police fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration by opposition supporters, authorities said on Sunday, with opposition members claiming several people were hurt.

The demonstration by a group of young people in front of the house of Jean-Pierre Fabre, who heads a faction of the Union of Forces for Change opposition, was on Saturday in Lome.

"Some of our youths were wounded, including one seriously," an opposition source said.

Organisers said bullet casings found on the ground in the area seemed to indicate police also used live rounds, but the claim could not be confirmed. They also said those wounded were hurt by the tear gas.

In a statement read on state media on Sunday, police said they fired tear gas to break up the demonstration because the protesters were blocking the road.

"No group of citizens has the right to occupy public roads and prevent others' freedom of movement without prior approval," it said.

Police have fired tear gas on several occasions to break up demonstrations by supporters of Fabre, who lost to President Faure Gnassingbe in March elections. Fabre disputes the election results.

Some UFC members decided to join the government in the small West African country after the elections, causing Fabre's faction to split off in disagreement.

The authorities have said they do not recognise the faction led by Fabre.