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At least 10 dead as Nigeria protesters demand police reforms for seventh day

Protesters shut down a major highway in Lagos State Wednesday and converged at the toll gate where speakers address the crowd amidst outbursts of protest chants.
Credit: AP
People demonstrate on the street to protest against police brutality in Lagos, Nigeria, Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020, for a seventh day across Africa's most populous nation. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

LAGOS, Nigeria — Crowds protesting against police brutality in Nigeria have taken to the streets for the seventh day across Africa's most populous nation. Fresh protests against the Nigeria Police Force's Special Anti-Robbery Squad, popularly known as SARS, took place in Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, and in the southeastern cities of Port Harcourt and Uyo as well as the capital city, Abuja. Protesters shut down a major highway Wednesday and converged at the toll gate where speakers address the crowd amidst outbursts of protest chants and Afrobeats music. 

The demonstrations were spurred by expressions of discontent on social media over police brutality with citizens sharing their message with #EndSARS #EndSARSprotests #EndPoliceBrutality or #SARSmustEnd. 

At least 10 people have died since the protest began, including a young man named Jimoh Isiaq who was a bystander hit by a stray bullet, according to local media.

Citizens have also demanded the arrest of police officers responsible for extra-judicial killings and called for deep reforms to the police force including better training, psychological assessments, better facilities and increased wages. 

The protests have continued on the streets despite Nigeria’s police spokesperson announcement on Sunday that the controversial unit, implicated in several videos posted online, was being formally dissolved.

However, on Tuesday, Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu announced that a new, Special Weapons and Tactics  (SWAT) Team would carry out the duties which were done by the SARS.

The move has been criticized as only a change of name and protesters have furthered their agitation with #EndSWAT.

People of Nigerian descent living in cities like London, Chicago and Atlanta have also staged smaller demonstrations in solidarity with the movement.

The protests have also gotten the attention of celebrities and influencers including John Boyega, Kanye West, and Twitter's Jack.

The protesters have vowed to continue their protests until they see tangible change and action from the Nigerian government and leadership toward meeting their demands.