Clashes erupted between opposition supporters and security forces in the capital Lomé as well as in other urban centers across the country on Saturday, December 8, after protesters attempted to assemble despite a demonstration ban issued on December 5. At least two people were killed in the violence. Further opposition protests and associated violence are possible in the coming days amid calls by the C14 opposition coalition to stage nationwide demonstrations through December 18. A heightened security presence and associated transportation disruptions are to be expected near demonstration sites.
The C14 opposition coalition called for protests to denounce the December 20 legislative elections and prevent the vote from taking place, claiming that the elections will be "fraudulent." The government issued a ban on demonstrations to ensure that the electoral campaign, which runs from December 4 through December 18, will not be disrupted. On a related note, a referendum on institutional and constitutional changes, as well as local elections, will be held on December 16.
Over a dozen people have been killed in opposition protests ongoing since mid-August 2017 to demand the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbé, in power since 2005.
The current wave of political protests comes amid negotiations - which resumed on June 27 after a three-month suspension - between the government and the opposition. According to a statement issued by opposition leaders, the government has refused to comply with a list of previously agreed-upon demands, including a return to the 1992 constitution as well as a referendum on constitutional amendments to reform the electoral system. Furthermore, the coalition accuses the government of blocking the implementation of a roadmap outlined by the regional organization ECOWAS to end the ongoing political crisis. According to the C14, the government continues to arrest opposition activists and has refused to release detainees.
Individuals in Togo, particularly in Lomé, are advised to avoid all public gatherings due to the risk of violence, closely monitor developments, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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