14 January 2013

Togo: Police Clampdown On Demonstrators, Injure Journalists

press release

Four journalists on January 10, 2013, sustained injuries when police officers drawn from the Togolese Police Service clamped down on a group of demonstrators belonging to Let's Save Togo Collective (CST), an opposition and human rights group.

The four, Noël Kokou Tadegnon and Tony Sodji, photo journalists of privately-owned Reuters Television and Television 7 respectively, Marcelin Adongnonsie and Jean-Claude Abalo, journalists with privately-owned Légende FM and Jeune Afrique, suffered various physical injuries including a dislocated right arm to Abalo.

According to the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s correspondent, the journalists met their ordeal when they were caught up in an ensuing chaos after police officers fired tear gas to disperse the demonstrators, who were demanding institutional and constitutional reforms before the country's parliamentary elections in March 2013.

According to the MFWA correspondent, leaders of both the Togolese National Union of Independent Journalists (SYNJIT) and the African Network of Journalists on Peace and Human Security (RAJOSEP), who witnessed the attack on the demonstrators, have called on security authorities to ensure the safety of journalists.

The MFWA recalls a journalist of the weekly Crocodile newspaper, Justin Anani, who was brutally assaulted on October 5, 2012 by police officers while covering a similar 'police-riot' on a group of CST demonstrators. Anani, was rushed to a local hospital after he fell unconscious following a knock he received from one of the police officers.

The MFWA condemns this incident and demands that the security agencies put an immediate halt to the recent spate of attacks and intimidation meted out to demonstrators and journalists who are only exercising their rights to peacefully protest and perform their journalistic duties.

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