Thousands of opposition supporters protest in Togo
11/9/2011 8:00:00 PM -
LOME (AFP) - Several thousand Togo opposition supporters protested Wednesday to demand the return of nine parliamentarians removed from their seats in the country ruled by the same family for more than four decades.
"We simply demand the return of our nine National Assembly legislators," Jean-Pierre Fabre of the National Alliance for Change (ANC) opposition and an ex-presidential candidate told AFP.
"We shall continue our protests until our demand is met."
Protesters marched in the capital Lome yelling anti-government slogans before gathering in front of the parliament building.
A series of previous gatherings involving Fabre and his supporters over various issues have been dispersed by police firing tear gas, but Wednesday's demonstration passed off without incident.
Fabre said a similar march will be held on Saturday in the small West African nation.
Fabre and eight other ANC members were removed from the parliament in November last year following a constitutional court ruling.
They were elected in October 2007 on the platform of the Union of Forces for Change (UFC) of Gilchrist Olympio, who later entered into an accord with the party in power after 2010 presidential polls, prompting a split.
The court said it received from the president of the National Assembly letters of resignation from the legislators. The lawmakers have denied resigning from their seats.
General Gnassingbe Eyadema ruled Togo for 38 years with an iron fist until his death in 2005. The military installed his son Faure Gnassingbe as president after his father's death, and he later won elections in 2005 and 2010.
© 2011 AFP