Wed, 25 Nov 2020

She hasn't been able to sleep for a week and at first wanted just "to stay hidden".

But this survivor of the shooting of peaceful Nigerian protesters at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos last week says she realised that she had to speak out.

"I feel like I'm hiding the truth," says the young woman, whose name AFP has changed to Clara for her own safety.

The shooting of demonstrators in the centre of Africa's biggest city has unleashed chaos in Nigeria and stirred international outrage.

The bloodshed was watched live on social media by tens of thousands of internet users and Amnesty International said security forces gunned down at least 10 people at the scene.

But the Nigerian army and police have rejected all evidence of any responsibility.

October 20 was the 10th day that Clara, a 24-year-old financial auditor, had woken up at 05:00 and headed to join the crowds at the giant Lekki Toll Gate to demonstrate against police brutality.

The site had developed into a place of protest, partying and prayers as thousands of mainly young people blocked one of the main highways in Lagos.

After days bringing the city to a standstill, the protests had begun to turn violent in numerous districts and the authorities announced a curfew from 15:00.

Clara and some of her friends in the crowd decided to defy the order despite the threats of a possible crackdown.

"We wanted to make sure it was a peaceful protest," she insists.

"We picked up all the stones on the floor, we took away all the sticks lying on the floor, we made sure no one was selling alcohol so it would not alter the mood."

But the atmosphere began to darken despite attempts to keep spirits high.

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Source: News24

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