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30 August 2017

Togo: Opposition declares ‘Black Friday’ but Gov’t gives it little weight

The coalition of opposition political parties in Togo has declared today, Friday, August 25, 2017, ‘Black Friday’ as it steps up the gear to end the 50-year rule of the Eyadema dynasty.

The opposition had planned to embark on a demonstration today to press home their demand for an amendment of the Constitution to prevent the continued rule of the Eyadema family.

But Joy News’ correspondent Ivy Setordzi, who is monitoring the situation in Lome reports that, the demonstration has been called of.

Rather, the people seemed to have hearkened to the call by the opposition to wear black clothing and armbands to work and embark on sit-down down strike.

Images depict empty streets in Lome with virtually no activity on the Togo side of the border with neighbours, Ghana, Ivy reported.


 
Meanwhile, the government in a release on Thursday, called on the people to ignore the opposition’s call for workers to declare a Black Friday.

Portions of the release translated from French read:

“There are a lot of messages  around on social media about “Togo mort” (Black Friday)  this 25th August 2017 but government wish to remind all citizens of Togo that there’s nothing like black Friday so the 25th August remain an ordinary day, therefore people can go to work and undertake their normal daily activities…”. 

Background 

The demonstrations organised by the opposition Pan African National Party (PNP) were held simultaneously in Accra, Libreville, New York, and Berlin on Saturday demanding the reinstatement of the 1992 constitution that limits the term limit of the president.

Seven people were reportedly killed and several injured in the northern Togolese town of Sokode.

According to the security minister, about a dozen gendarmes were also injured when the demonstrators overpowered them after they opened fire.

Besides the reinstatement of the constitution, the leader of the PNP party Tikpi Atchadam told the media that they want to immediately end the Gnassingbe dynasty which has ruled 50 years from father to son.

President Faure Gnassingbe who currently chairs the regional body, Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), has ruled that country since 2005 after the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who had been at the helm for 38 years. 

Travel warning

In a related development, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) has cautioned Ghanaians against travelling to Togo on Friday.

According to the GIS, it has picked up intelligence that the opposition in the country is planning a political protest in the capital, Lome to herald the burial of some civilians who lost their lives in last Saturday’s protest against the President and his family.

The Deputy Commissioner of Immigration in the Volta Region, Isaac Owusu Mensah said it will be in the best interest of Ghanaians hoping to travel there to hold on.

“The only issue that has necessitated this is the fact that they are planning a big demonstration so we are just apprising our compatriots to just go about their normal duties and not to get involved in any form of political activity,” Mr Owusu Mensah told Citi FM.

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