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US News “Why do you want to kill us?”: A survivor of the protests in Lagos recounts

10:40  28 october  2020
10:40  28 october  2020 Source:   20minutes.fr

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LAGOS : She hasn't been able to sleep for a week and at first wanted just "to stay hidden". But this survivor of the shooting of peaceful Nigerian protesters at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos last week says she realised that "It's just when it started getting dark that we saw there was no light," she recounts .

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on President Buhari and the army "to stop killing young #EndSARS protesters ". But seeing live rounds used at one of the protest sites that had been peaceful until last night has rattled many. Just last week I stood at the very site of the shooting.

Des passants longent des carcasses de bus calcinés au terminus Ojodu Berger déserté pendant des manifestations contre les brutalités policières, à Lagos le 26 octobre 2020 © PIUS UTOMI EKPEI Passers-by pass by charred bus carcasses at the Ojodu Berger terminus, deserted during demonstrations against police brutality, in Lagos on the 26th October 2020

Clara has not been sleeping for a week. This survivor of the Lekki toll slaughter in Lagos wanted to "remain hidden", but she blames herself too much for not telling what really happened, she told AFP. "I feel like I'm hiding the truth."

The Nigerian army has denied any involvement in the bloody repression of October 20 against more than 1,000 peaceful demonstrators, going so far as to ensure that all the videos of this killing, some broadcast "live" on social networks and seen by more than 150,000 people, had been "photoshopped".

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Amnesty International has counted 10 dead there and the International Criminal Court has indicated that it is closely monitoring the situation after receiving "information concerning alleged crimes".

On October 20, it had been ten days since Clara (an assumed name), a 24-year-old financial auditor, got up every morning at 6 a.m. and went to the gigantic Lekki tollgate, in the heart of Nigeria's economic megalopolis. to demonstrate against police violence.

Over the days, the toll had become a place of celebration, meditation, prayers, where several thousand people followed one another day and night, without any police presence.

But after days of blockage, popular protest degenerates into violence in several neighborhoods of Lagos and the authorities decide to impose a curfew at 4:00 p.m.

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 Ighalo asks for help for Nigeria: In a video that has meanwhile been shared a hundred thousand times, ManUnited striker Odion Ighalo (31) asked for help for his home country Nigeria. © imago images Sending a message to the world: ManUnited striker Odion Ighalo. From a sporting point of view, Odion Ighalo played no role on Tuesday, just like on Saturday and the week before.

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- "They lie" -

Clara, with a few friends and a crowd of demonstrators, nevertheless decide to defy the orders and threats of repression: "We stayed but we really wanted to make sure that it would be a peaceful demonstration, we removed all the stones that were found on the ground, the sale of alcohol was banned ... ", she said.

Despite the signs of good faith from the organizers for the rally to take place in peace, the atmosphere had changed.

"Around 2:00 p.m. men in orange uniforms were noticed removing the surveillance cameras. We asked them what they were doing and they said it was because the LCC (Lekki Concession Company, the company that manages the toll ) wanted to avoid acts of vandalism, ”explains the young woman.

The LCC has since denied these facts, assuring that they were cameras to scan license plates. But Clara is categorical: "They lie. We saw these cameras every day of the demonstrations, they were suspended above the tolls, not at the level of the cars".

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

 © 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.

Among their demands, protesters now want complete universal suffrage, an independent inquiry Of course, many of the protests that you hear about will have been linked to the environment and climate change. The protests have taken place in countries including the US , UK, Germany, Spain, Austria

Want to join? Log in or sign up in seconds.| Do you think that there is enough entertaining footage to double time of a normal survivor episode? The reason why sci-fi is not in vogue recently is because the highest rated television is focused on character development, not on things other than people.

At 4:00 p.m., when the curfew is officially in place, the demonstrators sit on the ground singing the national anthem, and wave green and white Nigeria flags.

"It was not until nightfall that I realized that the billboards had been extinguished and that the large lampposts" along the highway had not been lit like the other evenings, remembers- she does.

She decides with other organizers to go and beg the employees of the LCC to turn on the electricity. They refuse, assuring that it was an order from the "director".

- Panic -

"That's when I heard the first shots," says Clara. "I saw five military cars loaded with men in camouflage uniforms. They were shooting. Several of them came towards us, and we shouted 'Why do you want to kill us? You are our brothers!' .

After a first wave of shooting, "there was blood everywhere, everyone was screaming". A lull, then the salvos resumed. "This time there were soldiers and others, probably the police, I'm not sure, they fired tear gas. A woman was screaming in Yoruba that she didn't want to die but I couldn't. help her. There were people on the ground who were moving, others who were not moving. "

Clara, like other witnesses, claims to have seen the army load the body of a man into their vehicle before leaving. "I can't say how many they took, and I can't guarantee that the man I saw in their vehicle was indeed dead. But he was still and he was covered in blood."

The armed forces continued to fire, causing panic. People threw themselves into the water of the lagoon to escape. Others, like Clara, hid in the thickets before they could escape in the middle of the night to take refuge in a local hotel.

A week later, Clara remains "traumatized" and retains the bitter impression of having fought for nothing. To have seen his dreams of a "better Nigeria" drowned in blood.

"For once, we put all our differences aside, we spoke with one voice to fight against police violence," she concludes. "It's sad because we were demonstrating to ask for the right to live, and they came, and they killed us."

spb / thm / sst

Tanzania: Opposition parties do not recognize election results from .
The opposition in Tanzania does not want to be satisfied with the election, which is overshadowed by allegations of fraud and acts of violence. Two parties are calling for new elections - and "endless peaceful protests". © Stringer / AP The two largest opposition parties in Tanzania have called for a repeat of last Wednesday's election. This is reported by the AP news agency, citing a joint statement by the Chadema and ACT Wazalendo parties.

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