Today Togolese people around the world held demonstrations against the regime that has oppressed Togo for the last 51 years. What is especially significant about today’s demonstrations is that it marks the 55th anniversary of the assassination of Sylvanus Olympio. Olympio, who was Togo’s first president, was assassinated on January 13, 1963. Gnassingbé Eyadéma, the leader of the coup that murdered Olympio, took power in 1967 after leading a second coup. Eyadéma died in 2005 and his son has ruled Togo ever since. Olympio’s assassination was the first ever military coup in Africa and Olympio would be the first of countless victims of the Gnassingbé dictatorship.
For the past 51 years Togo the Gnassingbé regime has been one of the most repressive regimes in Africa. Critics of the government have been routinely imprisoned, tortured, and murdered. Since August of last year the people of Togo have been protesting and demanding that Faure resign as president of Togo, a position that was never truly elected to given that elections in Togo have been fraught with fraud and acts of violence against the opposition.
Despite the brutality of the Gnassingbé regime, countries such as the United States, France, and Israel continue to support Faure. In fact, the international community as a whole has remained largely silent about the human rights abuses that have taken place in Togo, as well as the protests against Faure. One of the locations where demonstrations were held today was in Washington D.C. There activists called on the politicians of the United States to take measures against the regime in Togo.