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In Togo, Hundreds of Thousands Rally Against Gnassinbe Rule


A man holds up a sign, reading "Faure still how many deaths by you," during an opposition protest against the rule of President Faure Gnassingbe in Lome, Togo, Sept. 6, 2017.

Mobile internet services were blocked in Togo Thursday as authorities prepared for a second day of protests demanding an end to the five-decade dynastic hold on power by President Faure Gnassingbe and his family.

Hundreds of thousands of people, urged on by leaders of Togo's opposition parties, took to the streets of the capital, Lome, and several other cities calling for Gnassingbe to leave office once his term ends in 2020, and for a constitutional amendment to reimpose presidential term limits. A law was passed in 1992 that limited the president to two terms in office, but Gnassingbe's father, the late President Gnassingbe Eyadema, scrapped it a decade later.

The opposition says the protests are the biggest against Gnassingbe's rule since his ascension to power twelve years ago.

Similar protests in August turned deadly, with at least two people killed by security forces.

Faure Gnassingbe assumed the presidency of Togo when his father died in 2005, after 38 years in power. The current president's cabinet approved a proposed bill Tuesday that reinstates presidential term limits.