A huge rally for constitutional reform has taken place in Togo, a country presided over by one family for the past half-century. Opponents of the government want President Faure Gnassingbe to “leave by the front door.” Tens of thousands of protesters wearing the colors of Togo’s opposition parties – red, orange and pink – marched through the Togolese capital, Lome, on Wednesday. Some carried aloft placards bearing slogans including “Free Togo” and denouncing the Gnassingbe regime after 50 years in power. Opposition party leader Jean-Pierre Fabre said the demo had been “unprecedented” and estimated that “more than one million people” were on the streets of the capital, Lome.
Amnesty International country head Aime Adi gave a more conservative – though still impressive – estimate, telling the AFP news agency that “at least 100,000” people were in the capital, Lome.
Similar demonstrations were reported in the cities of Sokode, Dapaong and Kara.
Central to the show of the defiance is a limit on the length of time the country’s president can remain in office. Faure Gnassingbe has ruled the West African nation since the death of his father in 2005.