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US News "It was violent, it was terrible": the "bloody Tuesday" in Lagos

23:45  21 october  2020
23:45  21 october  2020 Source:   ouest-france.fr

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Bloody Tuesday was a march that occurred on June 9, 1964 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. The march was both organized and led by Rev.

Les dégâts au poste de péage à Lagos, le 21 octobre 2020 au lendemain de la répression des forces de l'ordre contre des manifestants © SOPHIE BOUILLON The damage to the toll booth in Lagos, October 21, 2020 the day after the repression by the police against demonstrators

From the celebrations and gatherings of the last few days, all that remains is broken glass and graffiti to denounce the police violence and demand "better governance" in Nigeria. On Wednesday, the day after the Lekki toll slaughter in Lagos, there were only ghosts left.

About twenty soldiers and police regained control of the premises. They chatted among themselves or slept on the floor, while a few street kids picked up the remains of the rubble: bent pieces of steel, broken metal plates, gutted panels.

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Des policiers patrouillent à Lagos pendant le couvre-feu © Pierre FAVENNEC Police officers patrol Lagos during the curfew

Where will they go to sell them? Nobody knows.

Lagos, a sprawling megalopolis usually so alive, has turned into a dead city since its 20 million inhabitants woke up under a total curfew imposed by the authorities, and still in shock at the images and videos viral, "live streams" watched en masse on social networks.

Le péage à Lagos déserté le 21 octobre 2020 au lendemain de la répression des forces de l'ordre suite à des manifestations © SOPHIE BOUILLON The toll booth in Lagos deserted on October 21, 2020 the day after the repression of the police following demonstrations

The bloody halt on the some 1,000 demonstrators who defied the curfew orders in Lekki has killed at least 10 people, according to Amnesty International.

In total, the NGO identified at least 12 dead and hundreds injured in the crackdown on protests that took place across Lagos on Tuesday evening.

Curfew in Lagos after violence on the sidelines of peaceful protests

 Curfew in Lagos after violence on the sidelines of peaceful protests © AFP Nigerian police fired tear gas at demonstrators on the Abuja-Keffi highway, in Abuja, October 19, 2020. Violence took place the peaceful protest of Nigerian youth against power. Clashes that the demonstrators attribute to thugs. A 24-hour curfew has been declared in Lagos, starting on Tuesday afternoon. Violent incidents broke out in the morning of Tuesday, October 20 at Nigeria , on the sidelines of youth demonstrations against the power, especially in Lagos.

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"We did not have weapons, we did not even have a stick, all we waved were flags of Nigeria," told AFP Larry Matthew, a protester of about thirty years who still roamed the streets of Lekki 24 hours after the fact.

"We shouted to them that we wanted peace, but the soldiers didn't want to know anything," he continues angrily. "Before we even realized anything, they cut the CCTV cameras, then they cut the lights and started shooting. Ah! It was violent. It was terrible!"

- "Hide the evidence" -

All the witnesses of the repression note that the public lighting and the huge advertising panels were turned off before the police, apparently soldiers and police, according to the testimonies collected, no 'open fire on the crowd.

Chaos à un péage après 10 jours de manifestation et au lendemain de la répression des forces de l'ordre à Lagos, le 21 octobre 2020 © SOPHIE BOUILLON Chaos at a toll after 10 days of demonstration and the day after the repression of the police in Lagos, October 21, 2020

An AFP journalist also noted that workers in working clothes wore surveillance cameras about an hour before security forces were visible around the scene.

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Amnesty International also notes these details and denounces an "obvious attempt to hide the evidence" of this massacre on the civilian population.

The governor of Lagos for his part, first denied on Twitter that there had been victims during this crackdown. Before changing his mind and deleting his tweet, to finally concede a "lost life".

The army has also denied any involvement in the killing, despite numerous videos circulating on social networks showing soldiers firing live ammunition.

"They had army uniforms! Army uniforms!", Insists Paul Sunday, a young protester. “They waited until it got dark, around 7:00 pm, and they attacked us from the front and from behind,” he said.

Now, without water or food for more than 24 hours, he wanders with a dozen friends in the empty and stuffy streets of the business districts of Lagos, where all shops are closed until further notice and transport interrupted.

"We are poor people, we were just fighting for our rights", he says. "And now we have nowhere to go, we can't even go home."

spb / cld

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