Togo boils, as many die protesting Eyadema’s dynasty 50- year rule

Togo on Sunday continued to boil as more citizens protesting the 50 year rule of Eyadema’s dynasty rule, were felled by police bullets. More than four people were reported death by Agency reports and dozens of others wounded in Togo on Saturday when security forces opened fire to disrupt demonstrations against the ruling Gnassingbe Eyadema’s family dynasty. However, the West African country’s security ministry reported the death of two protesters and 13 others wounded. President Faure Gnassingbe has remained in power in the West African country since the death of his father in 2005. Gnassingbe Eyadema ruled Togo for 38 years. Demonstrator Ali Boukari said “We do not understand our little Togo,” adding “The father Eyadema was in power for 38 years, his son will soon have done 15 years. All we are demanding is a term limit and they shoot (tear gas) at us.” Leader of the country’s PNP opposition party, Tikpi Atchadam said, “We are protesting against the arbitrary nature of governance and denial of freedom to assemble,” The 1992 constitution brought in notional multi-party democracy after decades of dictatorship, and limited presidential terms to two, but ten years later lawmakers amended it to enable Eyadema to run for another term – a common pattern in Africa. Wearing the red colours of the opposition PNP party, chanting and singing “50 years is too long!”, thousands of demonstrators in the capital Lome called for the reinstatement of the constitution limiting terms that Eyadema introduced in response to protests in 1992. But in a parallel protest in Sokode, 210 miles (338 km) north of the capital, clashes erupted and Togolese forces used live bullets, which led to the death of about four protesters. The security ministry said that apart from the casualties among protesters 12 gendarmes had also been wounded. It was alleged that when Eyadema died, the military tore the constitution by installing his son as interim president, instead of the head of the national assembly, as was legally required. The protests that followed Faure Gnassingbe’s first election victory in 2005 triggered a violent security crackdown in which around 500 people were killed.

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