After a series of opposition demonstrations against the power of President Faure Gnassingbe, the Togolese government announced Saturday the lifting of the week-long market ban.
Colonel Yark Damehame, Minister of Security, announced this morning to AFP the end of the bans.
Opposition coalition spokesman Eric Dupuy said the ban was illegal. ” The regime must learn to respect the laws of the Republic,” he said.
Discussions have been held with the authorities to discuss the route of the next protests, scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, he added.
According to a government official, an agreement was reached to ensure that the markets will remain “peaceful”. Protesters were asked to respect “scrupulously” the planned routes and the police to be “professional and patient”.
For the Togolese opposition, these marches are intended to see a limitation of the number of presidential terms to two and to demand the resignation of President Faure Gnassinbgé, in power since 2005 and heir to a family at the head of Togo for 50 years .
The government plans to hold a referendum to adopt a reform including such a limitation of presidential terms, but the measure is not retroactive, allowing Mr. Gnassingbe to run in the polls of 2020 and 2025.
France, a former colonial power, and the United States declared themselves ” deeply worried by the high levels of violence and restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly in Togo “, while the head of the African Union and Guinean President Alpha Condé called on the government and opposition to find a “peaceful” way out.
For his part, President Faure Gnassingbé was “optimistic”, on October 28, at the opening of the congress of his party, to overcome the crisis. ” It takes courage, patience and strength to overcome the ordeal. And I know we can do it , “he added, denouncing those who want to” turn a simple man like me into a bloodthirsty dictator “.
More than 500 Togolese have taken refuge in neighboring Ghana, fleeing the crackdown by security forces in the Mango region of northern Togo, according to the United Nations.