Cape Town — Protests are continuing for a third day in Lomé after two days of clashes between security forces and demonstrators calling for reforms ahead of upcoming elections.
The BBC reported Thursday that angry crowds were again protesting on the streets. The demonstrations are being organized under the auspices of "Sauvons le Togo" ("Save Togo").
Initially peaceful, the protests degenerated into violent confrontations on Tuesday, fuelled by the heavy presence of security forces, reports Radio France Internationale (RFI). Numerous people on both sides were injured in the clashes - according to official reports, 119 demonstrators and 22 members of the security forces.
Participants came from all over the country, all demanding "We want change". A square in Lomé was packed full despite the rain experienced from dawn. By nightfall on Tuesday, the rain had ended but the protest continued and the crowd was being entertained by rappers, RFI said.
The social media was also awash with the happenings of the day, which were tweeted under #OccupyLome, following the example of recent American and British movements.
Some demonstrators said they intended staying at the venue for three days. On Thursday, the co-ordinator of the Lomé rally, Zeus Ajavon, said the organizers are calling on people to turn the country's cities into "ghost towns".
For the government's part, the security minister, Gnama Latta, has said he warned the security forces against responding to the violence and gave no orders for them to shoot. The territorial administration minister, Pascal Bodjona, reiterated that dialogue is possible; in his words, "the fact that past dialogues have not succeeded does not mean that future ones will not succeed."
Translation and summary by Michael Tantoh.