IMPACT – MEDIUM

Demonstrators have taken to the streets in Lomé, the capital of Togo, and other major cities, prompting the United States and United Kingdom to issue security warnings.

Key points:

  • Thousands of people demonstrated against President Faure Gnassingbé Wednesday and Thursday, calling for him to step down. Gnassingbé took office in 2005, replacing his father, who served as president for 38 years. The BBC called the demonstrations unprecedented and reported that the government had taken steps, in some circumstances, to limit internet access and the availability of social media platforms. A government promise to introduce presidential term limits so far has done little to mollify protesters.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Lomé said U.S. citizens should “avoid demonstrations” and “stay aware of their surroundings, monitor local media for security information, including possible demonstrations, and avoid large crowds or stopped traffic.” The U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office urged people to “remain vigilant, avoid crowds and demonstrations and monitor local media.” The office noted that two people were killed in demonstrations held in August and that “tensions remain heightened,” with additional demonstrations likely.

BAL Analysis: Those traveling in Lomé or other cities in Togo are urged to exercise caution and should prepare for delays. Delays in immigration services are also likely if demonstrations have an impact on government operations. Foreign nationals may wish delay nonessential travel to Togo at this point. U.S. citizens in Togo are encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service that provides updated security information and allows Americans to register their trips abroad with the closest U.S. embassy or consulate.