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This past couple of days, following a call by opposition parties, the people of Togo have been protesting against upcoming legislative elections scheduled for December 20th.
The protests have so far been marred with extreme violence from the military regime of Faure Gnassingbe that’s using excessive force against peaceful protesters - resulting in the killing of six civilians as of Monday, December 10th at 10 pm UT.

On Saturday, December 8th, a Togolese military official was recorded aiming at and killing two civilians including an 11-years-old boy. Several eyewitnesses claim the shooter is General Felix Kadanga, the head of the Togolese Armed Forces and brother-in-law to president Faure Gnassingbe.

Opposition parties called for protests against the legislative elections, which they have said they will boycott due to the government’s refusal to institute reforms meant to guarantee free and fair elections. The government, despite several warnings from civil society organizations, banned the protests, violating freedoms of speech and association of Togolese citizens which are guaranteed by the constitution of Togo.

The current escalation of violence in Togo is a result of the arbitrary ban of protests, and the insistence of the military regime on holding elections without meeting conditions that will ensure transparency and fairness. Togo is on the verge of a critical civil crisis and Africans Rising for Justice, Peace & Dignity is concerned about the peace and stability of this West African nation of 8 million people which has been ruled by the same autocratic regime for 51 years.

Africans Rising demands an immediate lift of the ban on protests and, calls on the government of Togo to restrain from using violence against peaceful protesters. Notwithstanding, Africans Rising calls on regional and international bodies to investigate the killing and brutalization of protesters in Togo, and hold the perpetrators accountable for these crimes which fuel violence and instability.

The government of Togo must respect and protect the rights of its citizen to protest freely, and must listen to the plea of opposition parties to postpone the elections to avoid further deterioration of the situation.

Africans Rising calls on the ECOWAS to issue a resolution postponing the legislative elections scheduled for Dec 20 to avoid chaos in Togo. The ECOWAS must exercise the needed pressure on the Togolese government and condemn its decision to ban and repress protests which blatantly and flagrantly violate the protocol of democracy and good governance of the  ECOWAS.