After three months the protests in Togo continue to grow both in size and in resolve. Faure Gnassingbé has been the president of Togo since 2005 when he took over following his father’s death. Faure’s father, Gnassingbé Eyadema, ruled Togo since 1967. Over the last fifty years the dictatorship has suppressed the Togolese people, jailing, torturing, brutalizing, and killing all who dared to stand against it. Today that same dictatorship is now beginning to crumble under the weight of the sea of Togolese people who have taken to the streets to demand an end to fifty years of oppression.
The government is resorting to its usual savage tactics of using violence to try to suppress dissent. Some of the soldiers followed the protesters to their homes where they beat them. Several of the protesters were wounded. Soldiers also blocked off the roads to prevent protesters from returning home. This most recent assault on the Togolese people demonstrates the growing desperation on the part of Faure Gnassingbé. The only tool that he has left to suppress the growing rebellion against his regime is violence, but that is no longer working. For the last fifty years the people of Togo have become accustomed to such savage treatment and the violence of the Gnassingbé regime is no longer intimidating the Togolese people, as evidenced by one protester who had his arm broken by the soldiers, but is still continuing to protest. As Togolese activist Farida Nabourema explained: “Death has become our friend and we're no longer afraid of it. So keep killing and we'll keep fighting.”
No amount of beatings, bullets, or tear gas will intimidate or stop the Togolese people. Those violent tactics will not work to save Faure’s regime either. As more Togolese take to the streets to protest and as the number of those from other countries who support the Togolese people continues to grow, the dictatorship in Togo continues to crumble.
Dwayne is the author of several books on the history and experiences of African people, both on the continent and in the diaspora. His books are available through Amazon. You can also follow Dwayne on Facebook.