Our Community. Our Nation. Our World.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Violence Erupts After Nigeria's Military Fires On Demonstrators

NOEL KING, HOST:

For weeks, young Nigerians have been out in the streets protesting police violence and a lack of economic opportunity. And then on Tuesday night in Lagos, the military shot at them and killed 12 people. NPR's Africa correspondent Eyder Peralta has been following this story from Nairobi.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: The governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, tried to calm tensions yesterday, saying he had ordered an investigation into the actions of security forces.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BABAJIDE SANWO-OLU: I want to once again and passionately from the depth of my heart appeal to our teen youths, to our protestants, that they should please give peace a chance.

PERALTA: But the governor also said protesters had not been killed. Even as he spoke, his city burned. Angry mobs set the port authority building on fire. They broke into police stations, grabbing furniture, cabinets, setting those on fire.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

PERALTA: Amnesty International says it has documented 56 deaths since protests against police brutality began about two weeks ago. Demonstrators' complaints have broadened to include corruption and the lack of jobs. The protests are the biggest in Nigeria in decades. The rights group says on Tuesday, the military systematically targeted protesters, turning off streetlights and security cameras before they opened fire on a gathering on Lagos's Lekki bridge. But on Wednesday, demonstrators returned to the bridge and protests erupted nationwide. In Anambra in southeastern Nigeria, a small group gathered for a candlelight memorial.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Singing in non-English language).

PERALTA: They mourned and read the names of young Nigerians killed by police. Eyder Peralta, NPR News, Nairobi.

(SOUNDBITE OF PORTICO QUARTET'S "MEMORY PALACE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.