Democracy with nail-studded clubs

Carrying on his fathers legacy of intimidation and violence, Faure Gnassingbe arrived in Lomé Sunday after his RPT thugs had “prepared” the capital of Togo using tear gas, nail-studded clubs and guns the day before. IRIN reported six deaths and AFP reported seven deaths and 150 injured.

Saturday’s clashes occurred as opposition supporters spilled into the streets dressed in yellow to welcome home [Sylvanus] Olympio. The veteran oppositon leader was banned from standing in the election on the grounds that he had not been resident in Togo for 12 months before the poll.

Human rights groups and witnesses reported seeing bands of armed men riding in vehicles through the streets wearing RPT or Faure Gnassingbe T-shirts. They were carrying army-issue teargas grenades as well as rifles and nail-studded clubs.

An IRIN correspondent met one 16-year-old boy whose thigh had been pierced in several places. He said he had been beaten with a nail-studded club on his way home from school.

The clashes continued on Sunday as Gnassingbe held his first major rally in Lome, but no serious casualties were reported. – IRIN – Six Dead And Dozens Injured in Pre-Election Violence April 18, 2005

Terror democracy à la Eyadema. So much for free and fair elections in Togo.

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