afrol News, 26 March - The Togolese government has issued a decree that bans protests as the opposition coalition mounts pressure to contest the elections results of 4 March.
The decree announced by the country's Ministry of Security is specifically targeted at protests related to the 4 march elections, which opposition parties have said were rigged to favour President Faure Gnassingbé.
Mr Gnassingbé, the incumbent, won the vote by over 60 percent ahead of his rivals, according to the official results.
The country has been experiencing protests since the declaration of the election results. In yesterday's protests, opposition members have claimed that some 30 people were injured in a crack-down which saw police and security personnel having to use tear-gas to disperse the demonstrators.
A major protest is planned by the opposition coalition on Saturday, which has maintained it would go ahead despite the announcement of the new decree.
Togo's Constitutional Court had confirmed the disputed re-election of incumbent President Gnassingbé with 60.88 percent of the vote cast after five out of seven presidential candidates had protested the official results, appealing to the court.
The Constitutional Court rejected complaints from two contesters calling for the outright invalidation of the ballot due to "widespread irregularities." The court did not agree the documented irregularities were of a nature that would influence overall results.
Court President Aboudou Assouma concluded that President Gnassingbé, beyond reasonable doubt, had "received the greatest number of votes." The incumbent's re-election was indisputable, he held, and the victory proclamation was "definitive".
A total of seven candidates ran in the presidential race, with an estimated 2 million eligible voters out of the country's 6.15 million population casting their ballots, which ended relatively calm.
The 4 March election was seen as an opportunity by Togo to ‘foster national cohesion, stability and sustainable development’ and also an occasion to redeem democracy in the West African country and region.
These all came with memories still fresh after hundreds of people died and thousands more were injured in violence which erupted after the sudden death of long-time President Gnassingbé Eyadéma and disputed elections in 2005, while tens of thousands of people escaped to neighbouring Ghana and Benin.
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