Opposition leaders in Togo on Sunday confirmed their opposition to the planned December 20 legislative elections, and their resolve to continue protests after at least two people died in clashes on Saturday.
Jean-Pierre Fabre and the Coalition of 14 (C14) political opposition accused the government of President Faure Gnassingbé of a brutal crackdown just days ahead of the contentious elections, which also include a question on presidential term limits that would require a constitutional reform.
The Togolese opposition and their supporters have demanded an end to Gnassingbé’s rule with protests that have spanned more than a year and have frequently become fatal and violent clashes. He has held office since 2005, continuing after his father’s death a Gnassingbé reign that began in 1967 in the small West African nation.
Togolese officials confirmed the two fatalities in Agoè, just outside of the Lomé capital, while also reporting four injuries among security forces and the arrest of 28 protesters, according to local media accounts. The deaths come following a disputed ban on protests ahead of the voting.
The regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and a team led by President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana began working with the parties to negotiate an end to the crisis last year, but progress in the talks stalled with the opposition adamant about Gnassingbé’s departure. On Sunday, Fabre called out ECOWAS for their silence as protests again become violent and opposition appeals appear to be falling on deaf ears.
The Togolese government condemned the violence and promised a full investigation while offering condolences to the families of the victims.
Image: Government of Togo