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Thousands protest in Togo capital

26 September 2012, 08:35

Lome - Several thousand people protested in the Togolese capital Lome on Tuesday, the latest demonstration ahead of parliamentary polls, with several previous ones dispersed by police firing tear gas.

Protest organisers and officials were said to have agreed on a route prior to the march on Tuesday, the first of three consecutive days of demonstrations that are planned, thus reducing the likelihood of police action to stop it.

The protest was organised by Let's Save Togo, a coalition of opposition and civil society groups in the West African nation of some six million people.

They want the departure of President Faure Gnassingbé and sweeping electoral reforms.

Parliamentary elections are due in October, but they are widely expected to be delayed as a date has not been announced and preparations have been slow.

The government has banned demonstrations in commercial areas of the capital, saying they pose too great a risk to public order.

The opposition argues the move is aimed at stifling critics.

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 after his death and he has since won elections in 2005 and 2010 which the opposition disputes.


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