Saturday, July 31, 2021

Four arrested in police brutality protests

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Arrests come weeks after Africa’s most populous country was rocked by the biggest anti-government protests in decades.

Dozens of protesters took to the streets of Nigeria’s capital Abuja calling out police abuse, activists said, two weeks after the unrest over the issue rocked the country.

Activists said four protesters were arrested on Friday.

Footage on social media showed a small crowd taking to the streets to try to keep up pressure on the authorities after a bloody crackdown helped stamp out demonstrations last month.

“Four of our members were arrested this morning in front of the National Assembly,” rights activist Deji Adeyanju told AFP news agency.

Youth-led protests against police brutality erupted early last month after a video that purportedly showed a federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) operative killing a man was shared online.

After days of demonstrations, President Muhammadu Buhari’s government agreed to disband SARS, but the protests persisted with demands of sweeping reforms of police forces and action against corruption.

Amnesty International estimated that 56 people died across the country, including a dozen peaceful protesters gunned down by security forces in the heart of Nigeria’s biggest city Lagos.

Authorities denied any responsibility for the killing of demonstrators.

That bloodshed unleashed days of chaos and looting in a string of cities.

Demonstrations have since stopped. But activist Adeyanju insisted the “#EndSARS” protests “will continue” until demands for an overhaul are met.

Government opponent Omoyele Sowore said Friday’s arrests showed the police “will never learn”.

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