News24

Togo: Teargas fired in fresh protests

2012-08-22 22:10

Lome - Togolese security forces fired tear gas on Wednesday to break up a protest in the capital for the second day running, leading some demonstrators to throw rocks and set tyres alight in the streets.

A couple of thousand people had gathered in Lome for the second of a planned three days of protests organised by Let's Save Togo, a coalition of civil society and opposition groups, ahead of parliamentary elections expected in October.

Security forces fired tear gas not long after Wednesday's march began.

On Tuesday, authorities also fired tear gas to break up a march of several thousand people, with protest organisers saying a number of people had been hurt and detained.

The government said 10 people, including a police officer, were slightly injured Tuesday.

Showdown

Last week, the west African nation's government banned street demonstrations in commercial centres, setting up a showdown with the coalition, which had already announced the protests.

The government says commercial centres were made off-limits because security and public order were difficult to maintain in such areas, but the opposition have denounced the move as a bid to stifle critics.

Some of the opposition are seeking a delay in the polls to let reforms take effect first, while others also want changes to the electoral code passed by parliament to be repealed on the grounds they were not made properly.

While the elections are expected to be held in October, no date has been set.

Togo has been run by the same family for more than four decades. Gnassingbe Eyadema ruled the country for 38 years with an iron fist until his death in 2005.

Shortly after his death was announced, the military installed his son Faure Gnassingbe as president. He has since won elections in 2005 and 2010.