Togo opposition announces new anti-government demos

Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Togo's opposition on Monday announced three new marches against President Faure Gnassingbe, despite a ban on weekday protests and deadly clashes with the security forces.

"We are calling for three days of protest on November 7, 8 and 9 in Lome," said Mr Eric Dupuy, the spokesman for the main opposition National Alliance for Change (ANC) party.

A coalition of 14 opposition parties wants President Gnassingbe to step down and a limit of two, five-year terms introduced for presidents.

President Gnassingbe has won three elections since taking over power after the death of his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for nearly 50 years.

Last week in Lome and the second city of Sokode, gangs of youths clashed with police and soldiers trying to prevent opposition supporters from protesting.

Security forces remained in numbers in Sokode and the northern city of Bafilo after the arrest of another cleric close to the opposition Panafrican National Party (PNP).

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets since last August in Togo in the hope of ending Africa's longest-serving family dynasty.

Sixteen people, including teenagers and two soldiers, have been killed in that time, while some 200 others have been injured.

President Gnassingbe has not commented publicly on the protests and there has been silence, too, from other heads of state in West Africa.

President Patrice Talon, of neighbouring Benin, has visited President Gnassingbe in recent days to discuss the issue.

The European Union, UN and the US meanwhile have called on all sides to talk and condemned the violence.

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