News24

Women protest in Togo's capital

2012-09-20 15:13

Lome - Several thousand women dressed in red marched in Togo's capital Lome on Thursday, the latest in a string of protests by a group demanding sweeping political reform.

The march was organised by the women's wing of Let's Save Togo, an opposition and civil society coalition that has called on President Faure Gnassingbe to resign.

Several of the group's previous protests have been dispersed by police firing tear gas and sparked isolated clashes with the security forces, but Thursday's march began without incident.

Togo's government has banned protests in commercial centres, citing the difficulty in maintaining public order in such areas. Opposition groups say the ban is an attempt to stifle critics.

Protesters have been seeking a delay in parliamentary elections to first allow reforms to take place, as well as the repeal of changes to electoral laws they say the government pushed through.

While the elections are due in October, no date has been set and they are widely expected to be delayed.

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.

The military installed his son Faure Gnassingbe in power after his death. He has since won elections in 2005 and 2010.