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Togo Celebrates Independence Day for First Time in Decades

The West African country of Togo Thursday celebrated its 46th anniversary of independence from colonial French rule.

A military parade and festivities marked the first time in decades the government has allowed the day to be observed.

Under the 38-year rule of the late President Gnassingbe Eyadema, Independence Day was held on January 13, the day he seized power in a 1967 coup.

Mr. Eyadema's son, Faure Gnassingbe, the current president, said the change to the original date is part of an ongoing national process of reconciliation.

In an anniversary address to the Togolese parliament, Mr. Gnassingbe called for reform of the judiciary system and economic agencies of the state.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.