The Togolese government issued a ban on demonstrations on Wednesday, December 5, to ensure that the electoral campaign for the legislative elections scheduled for December 20 will not be disrupted. The C14 opposition coalition, for its part, has called for protests to take place nationwide, and notably in the capital Lomé, between December 6-18 to denounce the legislative elections and prevent the vote from smoothly taking place, claiming that the elections will be "fraudulent." It remains unclear if the protests will go ahead despite the ban; if so, clashes between supporters and security forces are likely. Associated disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected near demonstration sites.
The official campaign period runs from December 4 through December 18. 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 that President Faure Gnassingbé, in power since 2005, resign.
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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