At least one person has been killed by security forces in Togo, on the third day of protests against the military's installation of the late president's son to succeed him. Security forces are now heavily present on the streets of Togo's capital, Lome.
Young men, demanding elections, made barricades on the streets of Lome, Monday, in an effort to stop people from going to work and participate in a stay at home protest called by the opposition.
Witnesses say soldiers fired tear gas and shots into a crowd by a barricade, shooting and wounding several protesters. One man was killed. The interior minister said the man was shot by mistake by a solitary soldier, who was faced by protesters demanding his gun. Opposition leaders say another protester was killed during the unrest.
A leader of the political opposition, Jean Pierre Fabre, says soldiers entered homes to force people to go to work, and that some were beaten. Mr. Fabre says he is pleased with the success of the stay-at-home protest, and plans more peaceful protest marches to demand that elections be held as soon as possible in the country.
However, the stay-at-home protest appeared to be ignored in parts of the capital, as shops opened and people filled the streets; only in opposition strongholds were schools and shops closed.
A Lome resident, Mr. Eklou Kpetigo, said that, although calm has returned to the city, people are frightened, because the army and police are out in full force. "There is the possibility of violence on the street in Lome, because there are army and policemen at every corner of the street in town, and at any moment there is the possibility of violence," he said.
Mr. Gnassingbe came to power when the military defied Togo's constitution, and placed him in the presidency after the sudden death of his father, President Gnassingbe Eyadema, earlier this month.The regional West African organization, the Economic Community of West African States, is pressuring Mr. Gnassingbe to revert to the former constitution which calls for elections in the situation the country is now in, and step down from power. Nigeria, the current head of the 53-nation African Union, said that organization could not rule out military action against Togo, but stressed that would be a last resort, and would require broad international support.