Massive Protests for Access to Education
~ December 8th ~
NOTE: this video contains material of graphic violence from minute 10:10 onwards!
The only two public universities in Togo, the University of Lomé and the University of Kara, were temporarily shut down by authorities after riot police clashed with students on campus on thursday (Dec. 8th). To break up the protest police forces fired teargas and chased students.
The protests were triggered by a new “financial aid policy”, which was introduced last month. Now payouts are only to be awarded to students considered “brilliant” or “outstanding” instead to all scholars as before. Before the introduction of this new regulation, all students received 20,000 FCFA (= 40US$, 30€) per semester.
The two public universities enrol more than 60,000 students. Besides that there are also several private institutions in this small West African country.
Students arranged general assemblies at the University of Lomé and the University of Kara, which were attended by thousands. Dozens were injured by the riot police. There are reports that they also used live ammunition. At least one student was shot in the hand.
The protests will continue.
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For activists across the African continent to network and connect an ISM-Africa facebook group was set up.