Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Nationwide Protests on October 18-19

The U.S. Embassy has received reports that several Togolese opposition political parties have called for unauthorized protests on October 18 and 19, beginning in the morning each day.

Protesters are expected to use a number of routes in areas of central, northern, and northeastern Lomé.  Major traffic disruptions are likely in Lomé, and public bus and private taxi services may be interrupted.

Protest leaders have also called for rallies at: (1) Palais des Congrès, (2) the Lomé-based ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (in French: BIDC, Banque d’investissement et de développement de la CEDEAO), and (3) the beach in front of the Ibis Hotel.

The U.S. Embassy will observe normal working hours on October 18 and 19.

Although the Embassy is not presently aware of specific plans for protests in the rest of the country, demonstrations in other cities of the interior, notably in Sokodé, frequently accompany calls for protests in Lomé.  These events are normally peaceful.  However, on August 19 in Sokodé and on September 20 in Mango, protest-related clashes resulted in at least three fatalities and a number of injuries.

In the aftermath of violent incidents during the night of October 16-17 in Sokodé, Bafilo, and Kpalimé, the U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens that unplanned protests may occur throughout the country today, October 17.  Travelers may encounter snap checkpoints run by the authorities and improvised roadblocks established by protestors.

Police disperse unauthorized demonstrations that interfere with road traffic – particularly on National Route 1 – using nonlethal measures such as tear gas and by arresting some participants.  Authorities have occasionally interrupted internet and cellular data services, making communications difficult and unpredictable.

We recommend:

  • Minimizing travel throughout the country on October 18 and 19;
  • Having flexible travel plans and rescheduling travel along National Route 1 to or through Sokodé until a later date if possible;
  • Having alternate communications plans that do not rely solely on cellular telephone and cellular data networks;
  • Exercising caution and being aware of your surroundings;
  • Monitoring media and local news;
  • Reporting specific safety concerns to local law enforcement authorities;
  • Enrolling in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP).

For further information: