Police fired teargas and detained several demonstrators in the Nigerian Lagos on Saturday during protests over the country’s worsening security situation.
Anger over mass kidnappings-for-ransom, a decade-long Islamist insurgency and a crackdown on protesters in Lagos last October has fueled demands for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to do more to tackle violence and insecurity.
There was a heavy Police presence in the country’s two major cities as several hundred people gathered to protest on Democracy Day, which marks Nigeria’s move to civilian rule more than 20 years ago.
In Lagos and Abuja Police were seen shooting their guns into the air and firing teargas into the crowds to disperse the demonstrators, who held placards and chanted “Buhari Must Go”.
In Lagos, teargas canisters smoldered in the street as Police shouted at demonstrators to leave the scene.
Officers were also seen smashing mobile phones confiscated from protesters, some of whom criticized the government’s decision to suspend access to Twitter after the social media platform removed a recent post by Buhari.
In Abuja Police Spokesman Yusuf Mariam said officers in the capital made no arrests but had “restored calm” after people gathered who were “inciting public disturbance and breaching public peace.”
Before fleeing under clouds of teargas, demonstrators in Abuja marched with banners reading “#Buhari Must Go” and other slogans denouncing rising insecurity and the country’s 33.3% unemployment rate.
Some also carried placards demanding the release of Ibrahim Zakzaky, the imprisoned leader of banned Nigerian Shi’ite group the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.