Security forces on Monday blocked off three roads leading to Togo’s opposition party headquarters a day after the group had staged protests claiming presidential elections last week were rigged to favor the son of the country’s longtime dictator.
Police spokesman Col. Damehane Yark, said police were present to prevent opposition supporters from blocking nearby boulevards, as they did on Sunday.
An Associated Press reporter on Monday saw roughly 60 anti-riot police with their shields lined up to create a blockade. They stood behind the shields with batons in their hands.
Togo’s top opposition candidate Jean—Pierre Fabre, vowed on Sunday to take to the streets every day to protest what he said were rigged elections. He was let into the headquarters on Monday after an hour-long standoff with the police.
Provisional results released late Saturday show Mr. Fabre lost to current President Faure Gnassingbe, whose 1.2 million votes gave him 60.9 percent of the vote. Mr. Fabre received 692,584 votes, or 33.9 percent.
Opposition spokesman Eric Dupuy, said in a press release that the opposition was planning a large march Tuesday to demand a review of the preliminary results from last week’s election.
A report released over the weekend by the European Union’s observation mission did not find evidence of vote tampering or ballot stuffing as the opposition alleges, but did determine that the ruling party may have attempted to buy off voters.
The observer mission’s report said EU election monitors were present in at least four different regions of the country when the ruling party handed out rice to potential voters at three to four times less than market price.
The election is only the second since the death of Eyadema Gnassingbe, who grabbed power in a 1967 coup and ruled for 38 years, only for his son to grab control upon his death. The younger Gnassingbe’s victory in the recent election extends the family’s rule into a 44th year and will mean the political dynasty will stay in power for nearly half a century.
Early results indicated that in the provinces where the rice was given out, voter turnout was high and people overwhelmingly voted for Mr. Gnassingbe. The district—by—district results also show that voter turnout was extremely low in opposition strongholds, such as Lome.
The opposition claims their voters were systematically intimidated and are traumatized by memories of the last election five years ago in which at least 400 people were killed in post-election violence, during which pro—Gnassingbe militias hunted down opposition voters, killing many in their own homes, according to a United Nations report and an investigation by Amnesty International.