Last week saw an internet shutdown across Togo in response to widespread protests. In addition to blocking mobile internet, the government also blocked SMS messaging and mobile payments. The internet was eventually restored after 6 days. Internet shutdowns are becoming common, with 62 shutdowns having already occurred this year. Internet shutdowns not only restrict communication but often have significant economic costs as many companies are hampered in their ability to conduct business.
The protests in Togo have called for greater freedoms and the restoration of presidential term limits, which would prevent the current president from running in the next election. The current president took over after his father's death, and combined the two have ruled the country for the last 50 years. The protests come as other long-standing presidents in western Africa have been forced to step down in recent years.