Nigeria: protests degenerate, 24-hour curfew in Lagos

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Violent incidents erupted Tuesday morning on the sidelines of the protests of Nigerian youth against power, especially in Lagos where a 24-hour curfew was imposed.

“The peaceful protests have escalated into a monster that threatens the well-being of our society (…) I am imposing a 24-hour statewide curfew starting at 4 p.m. today,” said Tuesday noon Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Twitter.

The huge economic capital Lagos, populated by 20 million inhabitants, had been totally paralyzed since the morning, its main roads blocked, and schools closed by the authorities the day before.

Several roadblocks were erected on the axes connecting the islands of Lagos to the rest of the city by bands of very angry young people who prevented cars from passing, noted an AFP journalist.

No sign of the peaceful movement, which began eleven days ago in the big cities of the south of the country, was brandished at these roadblocks.

In the center of the city, a police station was set on fire in the morning in Orile Iganmu, according to several demonstrators joined by AFP, who blame the fire on thugs. Several shots were fired, according to these sources.

Scuffles also broke out in the federal capital Abuja, where police have been deployed, an AFP journalist noted. Several houses were set on fire, thick black smoke rose above the city.

The day before, three people had died and several cars had been set on fire, according to the city’s police spokesman to AFP, Mariam Yusuf.

Dozens of men armed with machetes and knives attacked the demonstrators, according to Amnesty International and witnesses.

Since the start of the dispute, at least 18 people, including two police officers, have died, according to an AFP count established using figures from Amnesty International and the police.

So far, most of the marches had been peaceful, with young people marching, singing, dancing, and holding up signs.

The protest, which arose in early October on social networks, to denounce police violence, has gradually spread to claims against the central power and bad governance.

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