Nigeria's ENDSars rally met with tear gas from police

Protesters mark two-year anniversary of bloody crackdown on demonstration against police brutality

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Nigerian authorities fired tear gas and water cannon at protesters in Lagos on Thursday on the second anniversary of demonstrations against police brutality.

The youth-led October 2020 demonstrations in the capital and elsewhere evolved into the largest anti-government protests in Nigeria's modern history before security forces ended them in a crackdown.

Rights groups say at least 10 people were shot dead by security forces on October 20, 2020, at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, the epicentre of the protests — a claim the government and the army have repeatedly denied.

Government, jobs and security will be the focus for many young Nigerians in February's general election, when the country will vote on who will succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, who is stepping down after his two terms allowed by the constitution.

The 2020 #EndSARS protests erupted initially against police abuses, with the rallying name referencing the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which was later disbanded.

The demonstrations grew into a broader protest movement focused on governance and rights in Africa's most populous country.

Demonstrators carrying banners and flags met once more at the Lekki toll gate on Thursday to rail against what they say is a lack of action against police brutality despite promises of reform.

“No justice has been found for the people who died, no justice has been found for the people who were hurt and no responsibility has been taken,” activist Feyikemi Abudu told Arise News Channel at the rally.

Oke Ridwan, a human rights lawyer and activist, insisted that the protesters were demonstrating peacefully.

“[The police] prefer to go out there preventing people from protesting instead of actually solving the problems so that people won’t have any need to protest in the first place,” Mr Ridwan told The Associated Press.

Lagos state police spokesman Benjamin Hundeyin said some protesters were dispersed at Thursday's rally after unruly behaviour.

“Some of them that decided to be lawless and start mounting the toll complex, an action threatening the existing law and order in the area, were dispersed with tear gas,” he said on Twitter.

Updated: October 20, 2022, 4:33 PM
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