Togo government announces release of 119 detained during protests

The coalition Let's Save Togo said more than 100 people were injured and 125 arrested during the rallies on 21 and 22 August. The rallies were dispersed by police with tear gas.

"We still do not know if 119 people have actually been released, but we can say that some of our supporters who were detained have been freed," Pedro Amuzu, a member of the coalition told AFP, adding he would know more on Monday.

According to a statement by the Togo Security ministry, 119 people "without identification" were detained on August 21 to 22 during an "identity check operation", but were released on 24 August after "detailed verifications".

The security operation was launched because some people had "their motorbikes taken by rowdy protesters" in Lomé, the statement said.

The eight people still in custody were arrested carrying knives, and would be referred to the prosecutor, the statement added.

Let's Save Togo has announced plans to hold further marches followed by sit-ins at the independence square in Lomé next week. Protesters are seeking a delay in parliamentary elections to allow reforms to first take place, as well as the repeal of changes to electoral laws they say government pushed through. The elections are expected in October 2012, although no date has been set.

Let's Save Togo's coordinator Zeus Ajavon on Thursday called for an end to President Faure Gnassingbe's government and urged Togolese to "disobey and organise".

Togo has been run by the same family for more than four decades. Gnassingbe Eyadema ruled the country for 38 years with an iron fist until his death in 2005.

Shortly after his death was announced, the military installed his son Faure Gnassingbe as president. He has since won elections in 2005 and 2010.


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