Curfew declared in Nigeria’s Lagos as protests worsen

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EndSARS protesters occupy Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria on Friday, October 9, 2020. The protesters are calling for the scrapping of police unit, known as Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) over the squads incessant harassment and brutality of innocent Nigerians. (Photo by Adekunle Ajayi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
EndSARS protesters occupy Lagos State House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria on Friday, October 9, 2020. The protesters are calling for the scrapping of the police unit, known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) over the squad’s incessant harassment and brutality of innocent Nigerians. (Photo by Adekunle Ajayi/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Authorities have declared a 24-hour curfew in Nigeria’s economic hub Lagos on Tuesday as violence flared in widespread protests that have rocked cities across the country.

Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced only “essential service providers and first responders” would be allowed on the street from 4 p.m (1500GMT).

“I have watched with shock how what began as a peaceful #EndSARS protest has degenerated into a monster that is threatening the well-being of our society,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Lives and limbs have been lost as criminals and miscreants are now hiding under the umbrella of these protests to unleash mayhem on our state.”

“We will not watch and allow anarchy in our dear state.”

Protests that began 12 days ago over abuses by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) which have spiraled dramatically.

18 people have died in the demonstrations, so far, as clashes have been reported between protesters and assailants dressed in civilian clothes.

Lagos, a city of 20 million, has been paralyzed as crowds have blocked key roads and access to the international airport.

The government has announced the scrapping of SARS and a raft of reforms to the police in a bid to placate the protesters.

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