Nigerian police beat, arrest protesters at site of Lekki shootings:
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[February 13, 2021]
By Angela Ukomadu and Seun Sanni
LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigerian police beat and
arrested demonstrators on Saturday as a small group protested over the
reopening of the site where activists denouncing police brutality were
shot last year in the commercial capital, Lagos, Reuters witnesses said.
Rights group Amnesty International and witnesses have said soldiers
opened fire on protesters on Oct. 20, killing at least 12 people at a
toll gate in the city's affluent Lekki district and another area. The
military has denied shooting live rounds and the police have denied
There was a heavy presence of armed police officers on Saturday at the
toll gate, where a group of about 15 protesters gathered despite calls
by the government this week to scrap the demonstration, Reuters
At least six of the protesters were beaten with truncheons and arrested
before being driven away in police vans.
"They are already manhandling us, but we're not going to be deterred.
We're not going to step down," said one man, who did not provide his
name and spoke to Reuters as he was being arrested.
A Lagos state police spokesman said in a text message he was unaware of
the arrests but would look into accusations that activists had been
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A man detained by the police speaks to the media during a protest
against the reopening of the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria,
February 13, 2021. REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja
Nigeria's information minister warned activists earlier this week to
drop plans for the protest, saying it risked being "hijacked by
On Friday, one of the two youth members of a Lagos state panel
investigating the October shootings resigned, citing "undue
intimidation of peaceful protesters" and the panel's vote to reopen
the toll gate - a source of revenue for the state government -
before the probe had been finished.
Thousands of Nigerians calling for police reforms staged largely
peaceful protests nationwide for about two weeks in October, but the
Lekki shootings sparked street violence and looting across the
The wave of civil unrest was one of the worst since the end of
military rule in 1999.
(Additional reporting by Temilade Adelaja; Writing by Alexis
Akwagyiram; Editing by Helen Popper)
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