Media rights group slams attack on Togo journalist

Protesters in Lome in November.  By Emile Kouton (AFP/File)
Protesters in Lome in November. By Emile Kouton (AFP/File)

LOME (AFP) - A US-based media rights group has condemned an attack on a local journalist covering a protest in Togo and urged the authorities to punish the perpetrators.

New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Atayi Ayi, a reporter for the daily Forum de la Semaine, was taking photographs of a protest in the capital Lome on Monday when he was attacked.

"Two groups of unidentified demonstrators beat him and seized his camera," the CPJ said, adding that the attack left him with injuries to his right eye, a bloody nose, and bruises all over his body.

"Journalists should not fear for their safety simply because they are covering a demonstration," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. "We condemn the attack on Atayi Ayi and call on Togolese police to thoroughly investigate", he added.

Togo, a West African nation of some six million people, has been wracked by a wave of demonstrations seeking changes to electoral laws that have allowed the same family of Gnassingbe Eyadema to rule for more than four decades.

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