More Nigerian protests against police brutality as reforms …

More Nigerian protests against police brutality as reforms …

Nigerian protesters demanding an end to police brutality returned to the streets on Wednesday, saying they were unconvinced by the creation of a new police unit and a pledge not to use violence against demonstrators.



a group of people standing in front of a crowd: A girl carries placard reading "Special Ant-Robbery Squad (SARS) Kill, SARS Rape, SARS Extort, End SARS Now" on the road to a government house in continuation of an ongoing demonstration to call for the scrapping of the controversial police unit at Ikeja, on October 9, 2020. - Nigeria's top police chief banned a controversial anti-robbery unit and other special agents from mounting roadblocks and carrying out stop-and-search operations over accusations of abuses. Inspector-General of Police Muhammed Adamu said the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other tactical squads must stop such operations "with immediate effect". Adamu said the decision followed findings that "a few personnel" in undercover tactical squads have abused their position "to perpetrate all forms of illegality". (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP) (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images)


© Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images
A girl carries placard reading “Special Ant-Robbery Squad (SARS) Kill, SARS Rape, SARS Extort, End SARS Now” on the road to a government house in continuation of an ongoing demonstration to call for the scrapping of the controversial police unit at Ikeja, on October 9, 2020. – Nigeria’s top police chief banned a controversial anti-robbery unit and other special agents from mounting roadblocks and carrying out stop-and-search operations over accusations of abuses. Inspector-General of Police Muhammed Adamu said the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) and other tactical squads must stop such operations “with immediate effect”. Adamu said the decision followed findings that “a few personnel” in undercover tactical squads have abused their position “to perpetrate all forms of illegality”. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP) (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images)

Protesters have staged daily marches nationwide for a week, calling for an overhaul of police forces. Police have responded to the demonstrations with beatings, tear gas and gunfire, which human rights group Amnesty International said had killed at least 10 people.

The protests have prompted a raft of announcements. The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a police unit that demonstrators have long accused of beatings, killings and extortion, was officially disbanded on Sunday.

On Tuesday, police agreed to stop using force against protesters. They also announced the formation of a new unit, the Special Weapons and Tactics team (SWAT), to “fill the gaps” left by the disbanded SARS.

But protesters said on Wednesday they feared the new unit will simply be a rebranded version of SARS.

Hundreds gathered on Wednesday in the capital Abuja, as well as megacity Lagos and Warri — both in the south — to press their calls for police reforms.

“What they do is… give them new uniforms, call them a different name, but they are still the same people in these police forces,” said blogger Folu Oyefeso, in Lagos.

Demonstrators in Lagos, who gathered despite heavy rain, sang, danced and chanted. Many held placards, including one that read “Stop killing our dreamers. #EndSARS now.”

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in a statement on Wednesday, urged protesters to wind down demonstrations, saying that the gridlock caused in recent days had disrupted businesses still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic.

“People are just coming back to businesses. It would be unfair for those businesses not to be able to get back on their feet again,” he said.

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Published at Thu, 15 Oct 2020 07:21:09 +0000

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