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Nigeria: Tensions escalated in Lagos and international condemnation of the police crackdown on demonstrators

Tension reigns in the economic capital of Nigeria, Lagos, where demonstrators burned several buildings on Wednesday, in protest against the bloody suppression of a peaceful demonstration that resulted in an unclear toll of victims and condemned by the international community.

Despite the comprehensive curfew imposed by the authorities, demonstrators burned the headquarters of a television channel known for its ties to a politician close to the ruling party, and set fire to a main bus stop and many other public and private buildings, and gunshots were heard by the security forces in several locations in the city, according to witnesses. Eyes.

The country is still under the shock of the violence that “Bloody Tuesday” witnessed, as described by several newspapers in their headlines. Meanwhile, calls have been made on social media for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari, especially by the music star Davido, who is watched by millions.

The musician, Wizkid, wrote on Twitter, “Bukhari, you are a loser! Old and incompetent! We do not want you, nor do we want your deputy or your chief of police! Resign!”

On Tuesday evening, authorities dispersed more than a thousand protesters peacefully gathered in Lagos, and armed forces opened fire on the crowd that violated the Lagos curfew earlier in the afternoon.

According to witnesses and Amnesty International, “several people” were killed in the operation, but it is not yet possible to determine their exact number.

Young men protest against police “brutality” against demonstrators in Lagos (Reuters)

International condemnation

For his part, the European Union and the United Nations condemned the violence against the demonstrators. The Union called for those responsible for these violations to be held accountable, and the UN organization called for an end to “brutality and police abuse in Nigeria.”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres also called for an end to the reported “brutality” of the police in Nigeria against demonstrators calling for the dissolution of a police squad accused of human rights violations.

In a statement issued by his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, on Wednesday, Guterres urged security forces to act at all times with the utmost restraint, and called on protesters to demonstrate peacefully and refrain from violence.

According to the governor of Lagos State, who had announced that 25 demonstrators were injured and taken to hospital, one person was killed by a “blow to the head”. And he had previously confirmed that the operation did not result in “any fatalities.”

The governor of the state confirmed in a previous statement that it was the army who were deployed in Lekki yesterday evening, indicating that an investigation had been opened into the matter.

The French News Agency contacted the army leadership, which had not yet commented on the issue. It only denied on Twitter that the army was behind the shooting. Rather, it (the leadership) published pictures of articles accusing the soldiers of responsibility for the shooting, attached to the tag “false news.”

Protesters are demanding widespread reforms and judicial measures to address police brutality (Getty Images)

Protests against the police

The army took to the streets of the capital, Abuja, on Monday, against the backdrop of the protests that began on October 8 throughout the country, calling on the authorities to cancel the “SARS” police force to combat theft.

Protests erupted over a video clip showing a SARS officer shooting a young man in the southern Delta state, sparking outrage on social media.

Since the start of the protests and until the 19 of this month, at least 10 people were killed and hundreds injured, according to Amnesty International.

On the 11th of this month, the government announced that it would disband the “SARS” squad. But it also said that its officers will be integrated into other police units if they pass psychological tests.

Therefore, protests continued in many cities across the country, as protesters called for widespread reforms and judicial measures to address police brutality.

Nigerians have accused SARS for many years of committing widespread human rights violations, including extrajudicial killings, torture, arbitrary arrests, illegal detention and extortion.

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