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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 February, 2005, 23:02 GMT
West Africa leaders warn Togolese
Lome demonstrations, Saturday 12 February
Three protesters were killed in the capital Lome
West African leaders have told Togolese officials they must respect the constitution following the installation of a new president by the military.

Meeting in Niger's capital, Niamey, the leaders warned of sanctions after condemning the events as a coup.

After the death of President Gnassingbe Eyadema last weekend, his son Faure Gnassingbe was declared head of state.

The meeting took place as three died in Lome when police opened fire on people protesting at the transfer of power.

Saturday's demonstrations saw protesters throw stones and the security forces deploy tear gas alongside live ammunition.

Police also used tear gas to break up a sit-in protest by the opposition in the capital, Lome, a day earlier.

Rallies have been banned by the new government, and police have closed down a private radio station, Lumiere, accusing it of "incitement to revolt and hatred".

Apology demanded

Mr Faure did not attend the talks in Niger, but his delegation, headed by Prime Minister Koffi Sama, is returning to Togo to brief him.

"We are certain that they understood the message," Niger Foreign Minister Aichatou Mindaoudou told AFP news agency.

On Friday, the West African leaders - led by President Tandja Mamadou of Niger - cancelled a visit to Togo to see the new president after he switched the venue for their meeting from the capital to his northern base of Kara.

The African Union and the United Nations have also condemned the army's appointment of Mr Faure.

The West African regional grouping, Ecowas, is threatening immediate sanctions - including suspension from the grouping - if the situation is not reversed.

According to the constitution, national assembly president Fambare Natchaba Ouattara was supposed to take over as caretaker leader.

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.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Footage of the protests in Togo's capital, Lome



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