The United States Embassy in Togo has issued a security message for its citizens in the country citing the opposition protests called for October 4 and 5.
The Embassy in a statement issued on the eve of the protests, October 3, said in parts: “The U.S. Embassy has learned that several Togolese opposition political parties have called for nationwide protests on October 4 and 5, beginning at 8:00 a.m.
“Major traffic disruptions are possible in Lomé (the capital) both days, as three scheduled protest routes will affect many areas of northern and eastern Lomé.
Protests in Lomé will also likely affect public bus and private taxi services. The U.S. Embassy will observe normal working hours on October 4 and 5,” they added.
Togolese opposition political parties called for new nationwide protests against the 50-year Gnassingbe dynasty. They are demanding incumbent Faure Gnassingbe to step down immediately.
Today’s protests took off as planned with thousands turning up to protest against the regime. Most of them were dressed in red chanting slogans calling for president Faure Gnassingbe to leave power.
Thousands and thousands of people are rallying the 3 gathering points for the demonstration against
#Togodebout #Fauremustgo pic.twitter.com/SCcSiHXSL2
— Farida Nabourema (Farida_N) October 4, 2017
Full statement: Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Nationwide Protests on October 4-5
The U.S. Embassy has learned that several Togolese opposition political parties have called for nationwide protests on October 4 and 5, beginning at 8:00 a.m.
Major traffic disruptions are possible in Lomé both days, as three scheduled protest routes will affect many areas of northern and eastern Lomé. Protests in Lomé will also likely affect public bus and private taxi services. The U.S. Embassy will observe normal working hours on October 4 and 5.
The Embassy has also learned that opposition parties have called for protests in Vogan, Tagbligbo, Kpalimé, Atakpamé, Anié, Sokodé, Tchamba, Bafilo, Kara, Mango, Tandjouaré, and Dapaong. While the level of support for this week’s protests remains unknown, upcountry protests have previously caused disruptions to north-south travel along National Route 1.
While these events are normally peaceful, on August 19 in Sokodé and on September 20 in Mango, secondary cities of the interior, clashes related to the protests resulted in at least three fatalities and a number of injuries. Demonstrations that cause traffic disruptions in city centers and along National Route 1 are often dispersed by police with nonlethal measures such as tear gas, and sometimes result in arrests. Authorities have also interrupted internet and cellular data services, making communications difficult and less predictable.
- Minimizing travel in affected towns on October 4 and 5;
- Having flexible travel plans and reschedule travel along National Route 1 until a later date if possible;
- Having alternate communications plans that do not rely solely on cellular data;
- Exercising caution and being aware of your surroundings;
- Monitoring media and local news;
- Reporting specific safety concerns to local law enforcement authorities;
- Enrolling in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP).