Protests continue as international pressure mounts for a political dialogue

Peaceful Assembly

Protests demanding the resignation of President Gnassingbé and a return to the 1992 constitution with a two-term limit for presidents started in August and have continued unabated. During the week of 6th November, opposition groups organised a series of demonstrations over the course of three days (7th to 9th November). Though the protest was authorised, reports claim that people were prevented from taking part in the protests in the northern cities of Sokodé and Balifo. Heavy armed security personnel at the starting point of the protests reportedly dispersed the crowd with batons and tear gas. Opposition groups claim that the authorities arrested five, and that 16 people were injured in Sokodé and three people in Bafilo. 

On 16th, 17th and 18th November, the opposition organised another series of protests, which drew thousands of Togolese to the streets. These protests were conducted peacefully, without any reported incidents. 

Ban on weekday protests lifted

A ban on weekday protests introduced on 10th October was lifted on 1st November. The ban, that was issued by authorities on security grounds, was largely ignored by protesters. 

Civil society calls for end to repression of protesters

There have been an increasing number of calls to end repression of protesters in Togo. On 17th November, for example, 13 Togolese and international NGOs issued a joint statement calling for a stop of the violent repression of protest in the country, which have led to at least 16 deaths, 200 injured, and about 400 people arrested, while more than 500 Togolese citizens have sought refuge in neighbouring Ghana. The organisations further requested the government to open a political dialogue with different opposition actors to end the political crisis. The statement called on the international community to

"Take the opportunity to demonstrate, through the transparency of the processes put in place, that they defend the right of people to choose their leader freely, and not the systematic defense of the powers in place".

At the end of October, West African leaders broke their silence on the crisis and called for a dialogue between the government and the opposition. Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo and Guinean head of state and the current president of the African Union, Alpha Condé, among others, have undertaken efforts to mediate the crisis. Under increasing international pressure, President Gnassingbé announced on 20th November that a dialogue with the opposition was "in preparation" and could take place in the coming weeks. 

Association

On 27th October, Collectif des Associations Islamiques du Togo (Collective of Islamic Associations of Togo) held a press conference to call for the immediate release of arrested Imams, in particular Imams Alpha Djobo Mohamed Alassane of Sokodé and Alpha Babayi Abdoul of Bafilo. The Collective also demanded the release all other citizens wrongfully detained for their participation in the most-recent protests.