Togo outlaws protests against elections results

Source: Reuters

LOME, March 26 (Reuters) – Togo’s government outlawed on Friday further demonstrations against the results of a March 4 presidential election, which opposition leaders say was rigged to favour the incumbent. The decree came a day ahead of a scheduled opposition rally in the seaside capital of Lome, escalating tensions in the West African state whose election had been widely seen as a test for regional democracy. “In order to preserve peace and security, all demonstrations contesting the results of the March 4 presidential election are strictly prohibited on national territory,” a press release issued by Togo’s security ministry said. Official results showed Togo’s incumbent President Faure Gnassingbe won more than 60 percent of the vote and international observers said the poll appeared generally free and fair. The election was seen as an opportunity for West African democracy after a series of recent regional setbacks including a military coup in Niger and violent protests against poll delays in Ivory Coast. Togolese security forces killed some 500 people following the country’s last presidential election in 2005, but a parliamentary vote two years later was peaceful and led to a resumption of international aid. Demonstrations in Togo since the March 4 election have so far been mostly peaceful, though security forces used tear gas to disperse demonstrators earlier this week, injuring 30, according to the main opposition group UFC. “We will maintain our rally in Lome scheduled for Saturday,” a UFC official told Reuters on condition anonymity. Togo is near the bottom of the United Nations human development index, and its economy relies heavily on production of phosphate, coffee, cocoa and cotton. (Reporting by John Zodzi; Writing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Michael Roddy)
spotted by RS

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