AFP – Several thousand people demonstrated in the capital of the West African nation of Togo on Saturday in the latest protest ahead of parliamentary elections expected in October.
A number of previous demonstrations were dispersed with tear gas, but no incidents were reported on Saturday during the protest organised by a coalition of civil society and opposition groups called Let’s Save Togo.
Organisers called the demonstration to protest against impunity over alleged killings by security forces over the last two decades.
“This march is aimed at denouncing the impunity that reigns in our country,” said Francis Pedro Amuzu, a member of the coalition. “The torture and killing of Togolese must be stopped.”
Leading opposition figures, including former presidential candidate Jean Pierre Fabre and ex-prime minister Agbeyome Kodjo, participated in the protest. Kodjo was briefly detained in June following protests.
After the march, protesters gathered at the gravesite of opposition figure Tavio Amorin, who was killed in 1992 in Lome allegedly by security agents.
While the polls are expected to be held in October, no precise date has been set. Let’s Save Togo has argued more time was needed for reforms to be carried out before the vote.
Togo, a West African nation of some six million people, has been led by the same family for more than four decades.
General Gnassingbe Eyadema ruled Togo for 38 years with an iron fist until his death in 2005. Following his death, the military installed his son Faure Gnassingbe as president.
He later won elections in 2005 and 2010.