Togo military chases opposition demonstrators

Kpodo/Charles Ativor, GNA

Lome (Togo), Feb.
29, GNA – Security forces in Togo have used force to disperse protesters who
defied government warning to take part in a protest march in the capital, Lome.

The demonstration
was to register their displeasure with the announcement of incumbent President
Faure Gnassingbe as winner of February 22 Presidential Election and call for
recount of the ballots.

The armed men on
Friday evening, used tear gas on those who gathered at a location near Saint
Joseph College in Lome, to embark on the demonstration and chased others on
foot, compelling the demonstrators to flee bringing the march to an abrupt end.

“Agbéyomé is
our President, we want change” was the cry of the protesters despite the
sounding of detonations of tear gas canisters.

The police on foot
and the military in jeeps, then, moved to occupy every space dispersing the
crowd with force. 

demonstrators were injured with some arrested and taken to unknown

A protestor who preferred
to be called Kodjo Bullet and agreed to speak to the Ghana News Agency (GNA)
and said, “but what are they afraid of, If Faure Gnassingbé won as they
claim, let the people demonstrate freely, but as in any dictatorship, they rely
on military force to control the population. It is only the beginning of the
beginning. Togo is not a Kingdom. No to the 4th mandate,” he
added, sweating profusely as he manouvred to avoid being spotted by the police.

Government, a day
earlier through a communiqué warned that the planned protest march was illegal
and warned citizens from taking part in it, adding, security forces would be
deployed to uphold the law.

Government carried
through its threat of security deployment to uphold the law by keeping key leaders
of the march under house arrest and later proceeded to disperse those gathered
for the walk.

The homes of Dr
Agbéyomé Kodjo, former Togolese Prime Minister and the main opposition
candidate in the just-ended Presidential Election and, Bishop Philippe Kpodzro,
an 89-year old critic of Gnassingbé, remained under tight security surveillance
the whole of Friday preventing exit and entry to their homes.

This was after Dr
Kodjo charged followers of his Party, Patriotic Movement for Democracy and Development
(MPDD) and citizens of Togo who believed their choice of a president through
the ballot was disrespected, to come out in their numbers to protest against
the provisional results announced by the country’s electoral body, CENI.

The announcement by
CENI brings to fourth term, Mr Gnassingbé’s rule since coming into office in
2005, following the death of his father, Gnassingbé Eyadema who ruled Togo for
38 years.