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

The U.S. Embassy has learned that violent confrontations took place between opposition protestors, pro-government supporters and security forces in Lomé and Sokode, including unconfirmed reports of fatalities from live gunfire.  The opposition has called for further unauthorized demonstrations tomorrow, October 19.  Spontaneous protests and clashes may take place between government security forces and demonstrators at any time tomorrow.

There are no approved routes for Lomé demonstrations.  However, opposition parties have previously stated that on October 19 they will gather at the ECOWAS building.  Demonstrators also may gather on the beach in front of the Ibis Hotel and at the neighborhood of Dekon, in the area around the intersection of N1 and Blvd Circulaire.  Major traffic disruptions are likely in Lomé, and public bus and private taxi services may be interrupted.

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.

Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

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: