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Women in Togo Urge Sex Strike to Oust President

We want to "oblige the Togolese opposition to fight and end the system of oppression which has directed Togo for 16 years," says Isabelle Ameganvi

Common Dreams staff

Isabelle Ameganvi calls on Togo's women to observe a one-week sex strike beginning Monday, in Lome, Togo on Saturday, Aug. 25. (AP Photo/ Erick Kaglan)

The leader of an opposition group in Togo has urged the women of her country to stage a week long sex strike to encourage men to join the push for reform and oust the current president.

"We call on all women to deprive their husbands of sex for a week from Monday," said Isabelle Ameganvi, leader of the Let's Save Togo group, which Agence France-Presse describes as "an umbrella organization of nine civil society groups and seven opposition parties and movements that has rallied to demand political reforms ahead of parliamentary elections due in October."

"So all you ladies have to keep the gate of your 'motherland' locked up to all men from Monday up to Sunday," said Ameganvi.

"Women are the first victims of the disastrous situation that we are living in in Togo. That's why we are telling all women: one week without sex. That's also a weapon of the battle," said Ameganvi.

Ameganvi says she got her inspiration for the action from the women of Liberia, who in 2003 staged a sex strike to urge their country to peace.

“We want to fight as women of Liberia because when they started to do the sex strike, the men obliged to end the war and peace came back again in Liberia. That’s why we want to do the same thing in Togo to oblige the Togolese opposition to fight and end the system of oppression which has directed Togo for 16 years,” she said.

BBC News outlines the background that brought about the call for a sex strike:

President Faure Gnassingbe took power in 2005 following the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled Togo for 38 years. The president was re-elected in 2010.

The strike was announced at a rally on Saturday in Lome, attended by thousands of people.

The rally was held to protest against recent electoral reforms, which demonstrators say will make it easier for Mr Gnassingbe's party to win re-election in the parliamentary polls set for October.

Activists say that the strike will motivate men who are not involved in the political movement to pursue its goals, which include an end to the system allowing unlimited presidential terms.

Earlier this month, two anti-Gnassingbe protests were dispersed by police using tear gas and more than 100 people were arrested.

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