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  • # EndSars protests

Image rightsGetty ImagesImage descriptionProtesters opposed a curfew in Lagos on Wednesday to protest the shootings *: not ([hidden]): not (style) ~ *: not ([hidden]): not (style) {margin-top: 1rem;}]]>

Buildings have been set on fire and gunfire is reported in Nigeria’s largest city after demonstrators were shot dead in a protest.

Witnesses and the rights group Amnesty International said several people were killed and wounded when soldiers opened fire in Lagos on Tuesday.

Authorities have imposed a 24-hour permanent curfew on the city and elsewhere, but some have resisted the order.

Protests against a police unit have been taking place for two weeks.

Protesters used the social media hashtag #EndSars to gather crowds against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars).

President Muhammadu Buhari disbanded Sars on October 11th. However, the protests have continued, calling for more changes to the security forces and reforms in the way the country is run.

  • Nigerian horror over # EndSars protest shootouts
  • In pictures: Nigeria’s End Sars protests

Police in various districts of Lagos fired shots in the air on Wednesday to disperse protesters who opposed the curfew, reports BBC Nduka Orjinmo from the capital Abuja.

Buildings were set on fire and police put up roadblocks all over the city. The AFP news agency reports that a major Nigerian television station with ties to a ruling party politician caught fire after people were attacked with gasoline bombs.

Authorities deny anyone was shot and killed Tuesday, saying a number of people were injured in the incident.

What happened in Lagos?

Witnesses spoke of uniformed men who opened fire on around 1,000 protesters in the affluent suburb of Lekki on Tuesday.

Shortly before the shooting, soldiers were seen barricading the protest location, reports BBC Nigeria correspondent Mayeni Jones. Live streams from social media show protesters caring for the wounded.

An unnamed witness told BBC News that shortly before 7:00 pm local time (6:00 pm GMT) soldiers “pulled up … and immediately started” shooting at peaceful protesters.

“They shot and walked straight towards us. It was chaos. Someone was hit right next to me and he died instantly,” he said.

In a tweet, Amnesty International Nigeria said it had “received credible but worrying evidence of excessive use of force that resulted in the deaths of protesters at the Lekki toll booth in Lagos,” and a spokesman said they were “working to to check how many “people were killed.”

Protesters defy the curfew in Lagos

By Mayeni Jones, correspondent for BBC Nigeria

This morning we drove over the Lekki-Ikoyi toll bridge and passed gates that had burned out the night before. Broken glass from a number of stores littered the floor, and ATMs burned out.

Closer to Lekki, which has a number of shopping malls, the streets were mostly empty. Usually it’s a busy area, but there were no cars, only young men on foot.

At the Lekki toll booth itself, around 200 people who crowded around us and wanted to tell their stories from the night before were angry, but also determined to assert themselves. Pools of blood could be seen on the floor.

The protesters waved flags that looked covered in blood – they told me that the Nigerian flag, usually green-white-green, turned green-red-green yesterday after all the murders. Many of them had been at the scene of the shooting the night before and told horrific stories of other demonstrators being shot in front of their eyes.

The calls for police reform have turned into chants for President Buhari to go. Protesters say they are fed up with the status quo.

Image rightsReutersImage descriptionSmoke rose over Lagos on Wednesday

How did the officers react?

Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said about 25 people were injured, adding that authorities are investigating the death of a man from “blunt violent trauma to the head”. It is unclear whether he was a protester.

On Wednesday he called for flags to be lowered on government buildings and an “immediate cessation” of all government activities for the next three days.

“There are no excuses for the unfortunate incident that occurred last night and, as governor, I apologize for any act or inaction,” he tweeted.

Media signatureWho is monitoring the Nigerian police?

Mr Sanwo-Olu told the BBC’s Newshour program that the military had been there, despite public assurances that soldiers would only be deployed after a curfew at 9:00 p.m.

“I think around seven o’clock or about there was a little military unit that left [to Lekki] and we heard shots were being fired, “he said.

On Twitter, the army described media reports of the incident as “false news”.

In a statement on Wednesday, President Buhari did not refer directly to the shootings but called on people to be patient as police reforms “gain momentum” and called for “understanding and calm.”

What was the international response like?

Protests against police brutality in Nigeria took place in the UK, South Africa and Kenya, while officials around the world condemned Tuesday’s events.

EU foreign policy official Josep Borrell said it was “alarming to learn that several people have been killed and injured in the ongoing protests,” adding that bringing those responsible to justice was “crucial”.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the police “to act with maximum restraint at all times and to call on the demonstrators to demonstrate peacefully and not to use violence,” his spokesman said on Wednesday.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted President Buhari and the army to “stop killing young # EndSARS protesters”.

Former US Vice President Joe Biden, who is running against President Donald Trump in next month’s elections, also called on the authorities to end the “crackdown on demonstrators”.

Image rightsGetty ImagesImage descriptionNigerians in Kenya protested in front of the Nigerian embassy in Nairobi on Wednesday

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