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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Death toll climbs as Nigeria protests spiral

In Lagos, thousands brought the city to a standstill amid an outpouring of anger towards the country's notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

By: Deutsche Welle | Updated: October 20, 2020 3:41:22 pm
nigeria, nigeria protests, nigeria police protests, nigeria Anti-Robbery Squad, nigeria protest news, indian expressPeople hold banners as they demonstrate on the street to protest against police brutality in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday Oct. 19, 2020. For more than two weeks Nigeria has been rocked by demonstrations by many young Nigerians protesting alleged police brutality. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

Crowds took to the streets again in Nigeria’s largest cities on Monday in protest against police brutality.

Rights group Amnesty International said five people had died since the start of the weekend, bringing the death toll to 15 since demonstrations erupted earlier this month.

In Lagos, thousands brought the city to a standstill amid an outpouring of anger towards the country’s notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

Authorities scrapped the unit a week ago and promised to overhaul the country’s police force. A new SWAT unit was set to start training on Monday.

No sign of calm

In the capital Abuja, security forces fired tear gas at protesters, according to the AFP news agency.

Around 50 young men in civilian clothes armed with machetes chased away demonstrators from a road close to the presidential compound.

In Benin city in southern Nigeria, a crowd stormed a prison and freed inmates.

Local media, quoted by the Associated Press, said as many as 200 prisoners escaped. It is as yet unclear if there were any casualties from prison break.

The local governor said he was imposing a 24-hour curfew after the incident.

Sunday Dare, the Nigerian youth minister, said the government had met the demonstrators demands, including the creation of an independent body to investigate alleged misconduct.

“It is time to move to the next stage, that next stage is dialogue,” he told Reuters news agency in an interview.

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