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CNB News – Nigerian soldiers opened fire on hundreds of unarmed protesters in Lagos, Nigeria as rallies against police brutality continued in defiance of a 24-hour curfew imposed by the government earlier in the day.

Graphic videos posted on social media showed protesters fleeing as security forces, including soldiers, shot live rounds towards the protesters.

At least seven people were killed according to DJ Switch, a popular disc jockey, who broadcast live from the scene on Instagram. Protesters were seen struggling to remove shrapnel from injured protesters and in one case failing to resuscitate a casualty.

In several  videos protesters where seen carrying bloodied Nigerian flags pleading with security officials to allow medics to treat victims.

Lagos state government said it would open an investigation into the shooting, which witnesses said took place around 7pm.

Fears had grown of increased unrest after a curfew was imposed by Lagos’s governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, earlier in the day in an attempt to shut down protests against the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) police unit that have erupted across Nigeria.

Thousands have taken to the streets in recent weeks against the federal Sars unit, now dissolved but long accused of extra-judicial killings, torture and extortion.

More broadly the demonstrations have railed against systemic abuse by Nigerian police forces, but they have in turn been met by violence.

Last week, the Nigerian army warned it was ready to step in against “subversive elements and troublemakers”, while police have repeatedly fired on protesters across Nigeria. Armed gangs have attacked protesters in Lagos and the capital Abuja.

The demonstrations had “degenerated into a monster threatening the wellbeing of our society”, said Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the governor of Lagos, in a statement on Tuesday after a police station was set on fire in the Iganmu area of Lagos on Tuesday morning.

The national police chief also ordered the immediate deployment of anti-riot forces following increased attacks on police facilities, a police spokesman said.

“Criminals and miscreants are now hiding under the umbrella of these protests to unleash mayhem on our state,” he said, promising that the government would “not watch and allow anarchy”.

Groups of armed people, often impoverished young men, are widely suspected of being paid by powerful interests in Nigeria. Rights groups and protesters have accused “thugs and sponsored hoodlums” of attacking the peaceful demonstrations and seeking to discredit the movement.

Five Nigerian states and the capital, Abuja, have banned protests or adopted curfews, effectively banning demonstrations.

Several protesters yesterday targeted Lagos airport, blocking off entrances to its international and domestic terminals, causing flight delays.

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