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Alicia Keys, Greta Thunberg and others urge Nigeria to free protesters

December 10, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

A number of activists, politicians and celebrities connected with the Black Lives Matter movement have written to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari demanding justice for those allegedly attacked by police and who were jailed for taking part in protests against military and police brutality in October.

(CNN)A number of activists, politicians and celebrities connected with the Black Lives Matter movement have written to Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari demanding justice for those allegedly attacked by police and who were jailed for taking part in protests against military and police brutality in October.

A co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Opal Tometi, was joined by singer Alicia Keys, actress Kerry Washington, climate activist Greta Thunberg and 62 others in signing an open letter calling for the ban on peaceful demonstrations to be lifted to "allow Nigerians exercise their constitutional right to protest. "

The letter asked Buhari to release jailed protesters and journalists and to return confiscated passports and government IDs and to unfreeze bank accounts.

In October, waves of "#ENDSARS" protesters took to the streets in cities and towns across Nigeria, calling for the disbandment of the country's controversial Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and an end to police brutality.

On October 11, Nigeria's Inspector General of Police announced that SARS would be dissolved and its officers redeployed.

After the protests, the central bank obtained a 90-day court order freezing the accounts of those who took part in the demonstrations, according to media reports, while a journalist who covered the protests was arrested and detained for five days before being freed on bail.

A CNN investigation, corroborated by government CCTV footage, into a particularly bloody incident at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos on October 20 showed soldiers fatally fired into a crowd of protesters.

"As people who have supported the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States and throughout the diaspora, we cannot be silent when similar atrocities take place in African countries," the letter added, concluding that Nigerians and Africa "deserve better. "

In the aftermath of the Lekki shooting, the army denied any involvement, describing reports of the incident as "fake news" before backtracking and saying that soldiers were present and fired their weapons in the air using blank and live rounds.

An eight-person judicial panel has been set up to investigate police brutality and what happened at the Lekki toll gate.

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