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Nigerian Soldiers Open Fire on Protesters Opposing Police Brutality

HeadlineOct 21, 2020

Security forces in Nigeria opened fire on protesters in Lagos Tuesday as authorities imposed a 24-hour curfew to stem growing demonstrations against police brutality. There are conflicting accounts of how many protesters were shot. Amnesty International said it had received “credible but disturbing evidence” that protesters had been killed. One Nigerian police officer told The New York Times that 11 protesters had died. Dozens of protesters have also been hospitalized. Some witnesses posted videos on social media where rapid gunfire could be heard.

Witness: “Please tell people. Please tell people. People are having to run. They’re shooting at them at the Lekki toll gate. Please tell social media.”

The killings in Nigeria come two weeks after protests began against a branch of the Nigerian police known as SARS, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, which has long been accused of committing torture, murder and extortion. The killings on Tuesday sparked outrage from Nigerians across the globe. The soccer star Odion Ighalo, who plays for Manchester United, posted this video online.

Odion Ighalo: “I’m not the kind of guy that talks about politics, but I can’t keep quiet anymore for what is going on back home in Nigeria. I will say, Nigerian government, you guys are a shame to the world for killing your own citizens, sending military to the streets to kill unharmful protesters because they are protesting for their rights. It’s uncalled for.”

Here in the United States, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden urged Nigerian authorities to “cease the violent crackdown on protesters in Nigeria.”

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