AFRICA/TOGO - The Bishops condemn violence and call for peaceful confrontation

Lomé (Agenzia Fides) - In the phase of social tension that exists in Togo, it is necessary to seek peaceful and constructive confrontation, without degenerating into gratuitous violence: So says the local Church, which is following with great attention the critical institutional phase that the country is facing. The people took to the streets in past days to express dissatisfaction towards the electoral law passed during the National Assembly. A coalition of opposition parties and civil society groups, called "Save Togo", says it will continue to protest, accusing the government of having "trampled the rule of law." According to the coalition, the government reformed the electoral law without consulting the opposition. In the country the general elections should be held in October 2012, but an exact date has not yet been officially published. In recent days, the Episcopal Conference of Togo condemned the violent police raid in a church in Lomé, with the use of tear gas, while some people had sought refuge during the protests. In a statement sent to Fides, the Bishops also controverted the version given by the Government that "the strong wind caused tear gas to enter the church." The Bishops, deploring "the sacrilegious act that desecrated the house of the Lord," call on all citizens and the police to refrain from acts of violence. (CE) (Agenzia Fides 23/6/2012)