Togo, opposition agree on demo delay


Lome - The Togolese government and opposition have agreed on the postponement of a demonstration planned for Saturday against the re-election earlier this month of President Faure Gnassingbe, officials from both sides said.

The opposition says the result of the March 4 election, which gave victory to Gnassingbe with just over 60 percent of the vote, was rigged. It had planned to hold a rally in the capital, Lome, on Saturday.

Security forces used teargas to disperse demonstrators earlier this week and the authorities outlawed further protests. An official of the main opposition group UFC had said its rally would go ahead.

However, according to a joint statement read on state television late on Friday, the two sides agreed Saturday's march should be postponed "in order to avoid any recurrence of violence and to preserve the atmosphere of peace".

Opposition spokesman Kofi Yamgnane said the demonstration would probably take place next Saturday.

Wednesday's protest was the latest in a series since the election, although most have been peaceful. In 2005, 500 people were killed in post-election violence.

International observers said the election in the phosphate-producing country appeared generally free and fair.

(Reporting by John Zodzi; writing by David Lewis; editing by Andrew Dobbie) - Reuters


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