Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tunji Braithwaite, others tear-gassed by Police

LAGOS – (AFP) – Nigerian police fired tear gas Thursday in Lagos at hundreds of protestors marching against the authorities’ security crackdown in the aftermath of a week-long strike over fuel prices.
The more than 200 protestors led by a former presidential candidate in the 1999 elections, Tunji Braithwaite, alongside a host of other respected Nigerians, including a former finance minister, Muslim leaders and lawyers defied police warnings and marched towards the Freedom park that had become the epicentre of mass mobilisation against the removal of fuel subsidies in Lagos .
One protester fainted from inhaling the tear gas.
Troops deployed heavily on Monday after President Goodluck Jonathan was forced into a partial climbdown over fuel prices by nationwide strikes that threatened to shut down the production of Africa’s largest oil exporter.
Heavily armed soldiers have since been stationed in parts of the country and sealed off the main protest ground in Lagos.
Thursday’s protests were led by a former presidential candidate in the 1999 elections, Tunji Braithwaite, alongside a host of other respected Nigerians, including a former finance minister, Muslim leaders and lawyers.
“As elders we are totally against the military siege in Lagos. This is a democracy. They should be withdrawn immediately,” Braithwaite told the protesters before the march.