Police fired tear gas to disperse protesters in the latest confrontation between the ruling party and Togo's increasingly active opposition. Demonstrators were gathering to protest the death of an opposition member, who died in jail.

The demonstration was the second this week, following a women's march on Tuesday in which thousands of women showed up wearing the color red, normally worn to funerals here. Some bared their breasts, a traditional gesture indicating they were placing a curse.

The government banned the march planned for Thursday, setting the stage for a showdown.

As youths burned tires, blocked traffic, police fired tear gas and engaged in running street battles with demonstrators.

Togo has been ruled by the same family for 46 years. Protests against the ruling party have been steadily increasing.