Lomé (Agenzia Fides) - An appeal to dialogue was launched by France and the United States to all political parties in Togo, majority and opposition, so that political reforms are made and to respect the right to demonstrate after the violence and clashes that have caused at least 16 deaths in the last two months.
"France is following the evolution of the situation in Togo carefully", said French spokeswoman Agnès Romatet-Espagne. "We are concerned about the reports that indicate the presence of civilians alongside law enforcement, which make one think of the presence of militias. We hope that the Togolese government respects the right to demonstrate and that protests take place peacefully".
On its behalf, the US Department of State has called for "unconditional dialogue as the only solution to bring Togo out of the impasse in progress".
The Bishops of Benin also asked everyone to bring the country out of the difficult political situation. "We, Bishops of Benin - reads the statement sent to Agenzia Fides at the end of the Plenary Assembly of the Episcopal Conference of Benin - closely follow the evolution of the political crisis that for weeks has shaken the fraternal and friendly people of Togo, that have experienced the loss of human lives and serious injuries. To the Catholic Church in Togo and to all the Togolese people, we express our closeness and we pray to God, Lord and Master of the peoples, to restore peace without which no nation can be built and develop".
For months, Togo has been shaken by strong popular protests that claim a limitation on the number of presidential mandates in order to allow for a change concerning the Heads of State, led since 2005 by President Faure Gnassingbé Eyadéma, the son of General Gnassingbé Eyadéma, who reigned for 38 years until his death (see Fides 15/9/2017). The government has submitted a draft constitutional amendment, which has promised to submit to a popular referendum, but the opposition rejects it because the limitation of mandates is not retroactive, which would allow Faure Gnassingbe to candidate himself in 2020 and in 2025. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 26/10/2017)