(formerly IRIN News) Journalism from the heart of crises

Opposition ceremony banned

Togolese Interior Minister General Seyi Memene has banned independence day ceremonies planned by the country's main opposition party, according to media reports at the weekend.

Independence day on Tuesday was a national event which could not be taken over by a political party, he said. In a bid to test the right to freedom of assembly, the celebrations had been planned by the Union des forces de changement (UFC), an opposition party led by the exiled politician, Gilchrist Olympio.

Olympio, who lives in neighbouring Ghana, said the UFC did not intend to cancel the 41st independence anniversary ceremonies and appealed to supporters not to be intimidated. The UFC has been demanding a re-run of the June 1998 elections.

Olympio is the son of the country's first president, Sylvanus Olympio, who was assassinated in a coup in 1963.

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