Why are people protesting in Togo?

Why are people protesting in Togo?
From Al Jazeera - October 4, 2017

Thousands of Togolese took to the streets on Wednesday in the second phase of a campaign against the 50-year-rule of the Gnassingbe family and demand the immediate resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe.

Mobile access to the internet was blocked on Wednesdayby authorities, as was the case in August and September during mass protests that drew tens of thousands of people.

Security forces cracked down on the previous nationwide demonstrations leaving several people dead.

Why are people protesting in Togo?

Protesters want to see a return to the 1992 Constitution that allowed only two presidential terms. In addition, they want to have it applied retroactively so as to force out President Faure Gnassingbe.

Gnassingbe, in power since the death of his father in 2005, was re-elected in 2010 and again in 2015, in votes that the opposition denounced for fraud.

Why are these protests happening now?

A 14-party opposition coalition and civil society organisations have called the latest rounds of protests suspecting that President Gnassigbe, who is on his third term in office, will seek re-election in 2020.

In September, President Gnassingbe, in an attempt to appease opponents,tabled a draft bill to reform the constitution and reintroduce a two-term limit.

But opposition leaders are sceptical that this would apply retroactively, meaning the current president might stay until 2030. They have called for his immediate departure.

Read more: Life after near-death for Togo's shot footballer

Where are the protests taking place?

Most protests are centred in the capital, Lome, and the northern city of Sokode.

Until 2017, most opposition against Gnassingbe was concentrated in or near the country's seaside capital.

The anti-government protests have now spread to the rest of the West African country of seven million people.

Has Togo seen protests before?

It is not the first time calls for Gnassingbe to resign have echoed in the streets.

The protests that followed Gnassingbes first election victory in 2005 triggered a violent security crackdown in which around 500 people were killed.

How has the government reacted to the latest protests?

How has the international community reacted to the protests?


Continue reading at Al Jazeera »