Opposition and government supporters have staged competing demonstrations in Togo's capital Lome, ahead of next month's presidential election.

Several thousand opposition supporters marched through their stronghold of Be Saturday, demanding a free and fair vote.

A few thousand supporters of the ruling party, the Rally of the Togolese People, also held a march in support of elections on April 24.

The opposition objects to that date set by the government, saying it does not give them enough time for a proper campaign.

Togo fell into a political crisis last month when its longtime ruler, Gnassingbe Eyadema, died and the army bypassed the constitution to name his son, Faure Gnassingbe, as president.

Mr. Gnassingbe later stepped down under intense international pressure, but is running in the election as the ruling party's main candidate.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.