For the last fifty years the dictatorship that has ruled Togo has maintained itself through violence and terror. Those who dared to speak out against the regime were imprisoned, tortured, and killed.
The United Nations reported that 500 Togolese were killed due to electoral violence in 2005 and that estimate is actually a conservative one. The depravity of this dictatorship is such that not even children are safe from their vicious attacks.
The problem that this regime is running into now is that the people of Togo can no longer be terrorized into submission. Every day the movement grows stronger as the numbers of Togolese who are protesting across the country for Faure to be removed continues to grow. As the protest grows so does the international support for the movement. So far there is no indication that Faure has any intention of stepping down. Faure has expressed a willingness to engage in talks with the opposition in Togo, although at this point there is nothing to talk about. The position of the opposition in Togo is that Faure must step down and on this position they are unwilling to compromise.
Despite Faure’s stubborn insistence on remaining in power, the protests have already made visible gains. The dictatorship in Togo is no longer able to engage in business as usual. In September the Israel-Africa summit that was to be held in Togo was postponed because of the protests in the country. Most recently it was announced that the upcoming ECOWAS meeting will be held in Nigeria, rather than in Togo where it was originally scheduled to be held. In the past events such as these were held in Togo without any attention being given to the human rights abuses there, but the protesters have ensured that the outside world will no longer be able to ignore Faure’s dictatorship. Faure himself seems to be getting desperate because he released a clip of himself buying bread at a market, presumably in an attempt to paint himself as a president who is simple, down-to-earth and close to his people. In an attempt to paint himself as the victim of the protests, Faure has even accused his enemies of using technology to turn a “simple man” such as himself into “a bloody dictator.”
The greatest success that Togo’s revolution has accomplished so far is that it has set an example to other Africans for how to stand up against oppression. The uprising in Togo has been receiving support from Africans in countries such as the Gambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, and other countries. Togo’s revolution is also gaining growing attention and support among African Americans. The protests in Togo will resume next week and as Togo continues to stand, many others around the world stand right alongside the Togolese people.