Supporters of the opposition were preparing to protest in Togo on Thursday for the second consecutive day, calling for the departure of President Faure Gnassingbe, following protests that were “savagely” repressed in the north of the country.
At the opening of the march, representatives of 14 opposition parties gave a press conference in the capital of Lomé, where they recalled the death of a 9-year-old child in Mango (far north), and regretted the “savage” repression of demonstrations in the “great north” that “power has always considered its preserve”.
The opposition recorded 77 wounded in Bafilo, where the police fired with rubber bullets. The four most serious cases “had to be evacuated to Sokodé”, the second city of the country.
“Military men and militiamen (in civilian clothes) infiltrated the demonstrations in Bafilo, Kara (stronghold of the family of President Gnassingbé), Mango, Sokodé and Dapaong,” read in a statement distributed at the conference.
“In Dapaong, soldiers have carried out punitive expeditions all night,” according to this coalition of opponents. “The city is burning,” said Brigitte Adjamagbo-Johnson of CAP 2015. “The market is burning right now and it is pulling.”
According to a source close to the Togolese presidency, “25 people were wounded in Mango, including 10 by bullets.”
The injuries were caused by “shotguns” and “shotguns,” the source said, adding that the security forces “do not hold either” and directly accusing the supporters of the PNP (National Pan-African Party) of Tikpi Atchadam to be responsible.
The presidential party, the Union for the Republic (Unir), has also been attacked and set on fire by the same source, who insisted that no demonstration had been authorized at Mango.
“Despite the declarations of the authorities in favor of appeasement, the repression of demonstrations by the armed forces continues in Togo,” deplored Francois Patuel, a West African researcher at Amnesty International, in a statement published in the night.
Amnesty “calls for an independent and impartial investigation into the” death of the child in Mango “and the excessive use of force by the security forces.
The mobile internet was cut for more than 24 hours in the country on Thursday morning, while the wifi operated intermittently.
The opposition once again called on the Togolese to take to the streets in order not to relieve the pressure on power after the historic marches of 6 and 7 September, which had gathered more than 100,000 people.
The march organized on Wednesday gathered 10,000 to 15,000 people across the country, according to police figures obtained by AFP. The opposition has claimed “tens of thousands of demonstrators” in Lomé, according to Eric Dupuy, spokesman for the main opposition party, the National Alliance for Change (ANC).
On Tuesday, the opposition boycotted the vote in parliament on a draft constitutional revision submitted by the government, including limiting the number of presidential mandates to two.
The opposition refuses this text which is not retroactive and would allow Faure Gnassingbé, heir of a family in power in Togo for 50 years and himself at the head of the country since 2005, to represent himself in 2020 and 2025.