Nigerians stage protests against police violence
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 10/19/20, 05:36 am
ABUJA, Nigeria—Chanting protesters camped outside the head office of Nigeria’s Central Bank late on Sunday evening, raising banners that called for an end to police brutality, reduced government salary, and stable electricity. In Lagos State, protesters celebrated Sunday service and mass at Lekki Toll Gate, the state's central protest point. Young Nigerians have held similar demonstrations in at least 15 other states and several other countries, including the United States, since Oct. 8. Amnesty International said at least 10 people have died and hundreds more have been injured since the protests began.
What are they protesting? Disputed reports surfaced that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)—known for violently targeting mostly young people—killed a young man in southern Nigeria on Oct. 3. Thousands of people have flooded the streets since then for marches and prayer walks calling on the government to disband the group. An Amnesty report in June documented 82 cases of abuse and torture involving SARS officers between January 2017 and May 2020. Government officials have failed to follow through on promises to reform the squad in recent years. The growing movement has drawn international support and includes other demands for government reform.
Dig deeper: Read the June report from Amnesty International.
Editor’s note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting.
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