, LOME, April 23 – Some public school teachers in Togo refused a government call to return to their classrooms on Monday, closed for a week amid student protests which left two dead in the west African nation.
Government had ordered teachers to resume work on Monday, a week after closing all primary and secondary schools, citing considerable damage caused during protests.
But only a few heeded the call, with many teachers urging students who showed up for classes to go back home.
“We cannot return to classes under the present situation. We demand action against those who killed those two pupils,” Cossi Adjikou, a teacher in a public school, told AFP.
Thousands of students first took to the streets two weeks ago in support of teachers and health workers staging a three-day strike to demand a 100 percent pay rise.
But government’s move to close the schools only further inflamed the protesters, who again took to the streets a week ago, clashing with security forces in several areas.
In the northern town of Dapaong a 12-year-old boy was shot dead by police trying to control a crowd in the north of the country.
Local newspapers reported a 22-year-old student had died from “cardiac arrest” in hospital as doctors treated him for wounds sustained during the protest.
Talks between government and the teachers’ union STT, are expected to resume on Monday.
Togo has seen waves of protests in recent months, including those led by an opposition and civil society coalition demanding sweeping political reforms and the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe.
Gnassingbe was installed by the military in 2005 after the death of his father Gnassingbe Eyadema who ruled Togo for 38 years with an iron fist.