BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Monday, 14 February, 2005, 15:48 GMT
Togo troops shoot dead protester
Togo protester
The opposition wants the new president to step down
A protester has been shot dead in Togo by soldiers during a general strike called over the recent "military coup".

Interior Minister Francois Boko said the man had been killed after trying to steal a soldier's weapon.

Life in much of the capital, Lome, has returned to normal after a slow start during the opposition strike, a BBC correspondent says.

However, markets and schools remain closed in the opposition strongholds in the south of Lome.

The opposition urged people to stay at home for a "day of reflection" after Faure Gnassingbe was sworn in as president following the death of his father earlier this month.

Mr Faure's succession has been condemned by Togo's neighbours and the international community.

West African leaders have warned they may impose sanctions after meeting Togo's prime minister over the weekend.

Radios closed

Riot police have removed barricades which had been set up in the opposition stronghold of Be, where the protester was shot.

The BBC's Ebow Godwin in Lome says that by the afternoon, most government offices and banks had opened.

Togolese Communications Minister Pitang Tchalla under portrait of new leader Faure Gnassingbe
The new government says Ecowas had misunderstood its intentions
Three people were killed in similar protests on Saturday, as protesters threw stones and the security forces used tear gas alongside live ammunition.

Mr Faure praised the actions of the police on Saturday and condemned those who organised the march.

The African Union, however, condemned "the repression of the peaceful demonstration, which caused the loss of human lives."

Rallies have been banned by the new government, and police have shut down four private radio stations and a TV channel.

Our correspondent says the most prominent of the closed radio stations is Nana FM, which normally concentrates on women's issues but has recently broadened into political analysis.

Apology demanded

A spokeswoman for the West African regional body Ecowas said that Togo had not yet responded to its demands to revert to its original constitution or face sanctions, such as being suspended from the grouping.

Adrienne Diop said the Ecowas leaders expected a response by Tuesday "at the latest".

Ecowas has also demanded an apology for what it says was Togo's undignified treatment of Nigeria after its officials were refused permission to land in Lome on Friday.

According to the original constitution, parliamentary speaker Fambare Natchaba Ouattara was supposed to take over as caretaker leader following the death of Africa's longest-serving leader, Eyadema Gnassingbe, with elections to follow within two months.

However, parliament was hastily called to replace Mr Ouattara with Mr Faure and the constitution changed to allow him to serve the rest of his father's term - until 2008.

The new leader has promised "free and fair" elections soon but these are believed to be parliamentary.

Footage of the protests in Togo's capital, Lome

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | World | UK | England | Northern Ireland | Scotland | Wales | Politics
Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health | Education
Have Your Say | Magazine | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific