Nigerians protesting against police brutality stayed on the streets in Lagos on Wednesday, breaking the government curfew following a night of chaotic violence in which demonstrators were fired upon, sparking global outrage.
Shots were fired Wednesday as young demonstrators set up barricades by the Lekki toll plaza in Lagos, where protesters had been fired upon Tuesday night, causing numerous injuries although officials said no deaths.
One protester told The Associated Press that his brother was shot and killed in the previous day’s demonstrations and that he himself had been hurt in the leg.
Gunfire could be heard across Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city of 14 million, including on the highway to the airport, at a major bus station, outside the offices of a television station and at the Lekki tollgates. Smoke could be seen billowing from several points in central Lagos.
Demonstrations and gunfire were also reported in several other Nigerian cities, including the capital city, Abuja.
The nationwide #EndSARS protests against police brutality have rocked Nigeria for more than two weeks. They started after a video circulated of a man being beaten, apparently by officers of the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS.
In response to the protests, the government announced it would disband the SARS unit, which Amnesty International says has been responsible for many cases of torture and killings.
The demonstrators’ demands have widened to include calls for accountable government, respect for human rights and an end to corruption in Africa’s most populous nation of 196 million.
Despite massive oil wealth and one of Africa’s largest economies, the bulk of Nigeria’s 200 million people have high levels of poverty and lack of basic services, as a result of rampant corruption, charge rights groups.