Brutal Crackdown on Police Protests in Nigeria

A protester waves the Nigerian flag at an anti-police brutality demonstration. Lagos, October 13, 2020. Image: Benson Ibeabuchi/AFP/Getty
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A protester waves the Nigerian flag at an anti-police brutality demonstration. Lagos, October 13, 2020. Image: Benson Ibeabuchi/AFP/Getty

Nigeria’s violent crackdown on police brutality protesters has rocked Lagos, with reports of a prison on fire and dozens of deaths in 2 weeks of demonstrations, CNN reports.

The death toll has climbed to at least 56 since the protests began October 8, including at least 12 killed when soldiers fired on protesters in Lagos Tuesday,according to Amnesty International.

The protests—over the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad—started out peacefully. Though Nigerian President Buhari promised to disband the “much-hated unit ... with a history of violence,” he really just replaced it with a new unit, Karen Attiah explains in The Washington Post.

Unsatisfied, demonstrators are calling for broader reforms to end human rights abuses and government corruption, the PBS NewsHour reports.


Kenya’s Police Face a Reckoning, Too


Kenyans are also protesting police brutality, The Guardian reports, after the violent enforcement of pandemic lockdowns.

Police killed at least 15 people during the first 9 weeks of curfew alone.

The pandemic provided “the perfect storm for indiscriminate mass violence” by the police, Amnesty International Kenya says. Along with several other rights groups, it has launched a lawsuit to end impunity for police violence against civilians.

The Quote: “Covid-19 is the unseen killer but the police are the seen killers,” says Boniface Mwangi, an activist. “We don’t see the police as our protector, we see the police as our abuser.”

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