One killed as protests erupt over fuel costs and closure of media outlets

Peaceful Assembly

Togo has seen a number of protests over the last few months. A heavy police presence has accompanied the protests and demonstrators have faced tear gas and rubber bullets, as police have attempted to disrupt, disperse and block the protests. 

On 28th February 2017, protesters, mainly taxi and commercial drivers, took to the streets over rising fuel costs. The demonstration blocked the flow of traffic, and police came to disperse the crowd. One protester was killed and several more injured when the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters. 

On 27th February 2017, hundreds marched through Lome in protest at the government shutdown of two media outlets. This was the fourth in a series of protests over media rights that took place throughout February. Police used tear gas against protesters who tried to cross a police barricade and demonstrate in front of the regulatory commission responsible for shutting down the stations.  

Expression

In early February 2017, the Haute AutoritĂ© de l’Audiovisuel et de la Communication, Togo’s media regulatory body, suspended the operation of two media outlets - La Chaine du Futur and City FM - for not obtaining necessary registration and licensing when they began broadcasting in 2007. The Togolese NGO - Paix et Progres pour Tous - believes the justification for the suspension is unfounded and Amnesty International has expressed its concern as the case exemplifies greater state control over independent media. The Sud MĂ©dia Groupe, which owns the two outlets, claims that they complied with government regulations. The media outlets' closure sparked protests in the capital over several weeks, drawing hundreds of people to march in the streets for the state to protect the right to freedom of the press and expression.