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Democracy Day: Use of teargas on ‘violent’ protesters in line with global standards – Police

…the use of teargas was an isolated case in Abuja where protesters turned violent.

The Nigerian police have said the use of tear gas on protesters who took to the streets to mark Democracy Day by voicing their grievances against the government of the day was in line with global standard.

According to the police spokesman, Mr Frank Mba, the actions of the officers were in line with international best practices of dispersing violent protests.

Mr Mba expressed this during an interview with Channels Television in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Reports on activities of protesters on Democracy Day said the police shot teargas at them in Lagos and Abuja.

According to Channels Television, the protest in Abuja did not observe any sign of violence from the protesters before the police disrupted their parade.

But Mr Mba maintained that the use of teargas was an isolated case in Abuja where protesters turned violent.

“We had an isolated case in Abuja where some of the protesters became unruly and in line with international best practices, police fired teargas at them,” he said. “And that is an acceptable mode of engaging violent protesters anywhere in the world, whether it is in Abuja, Lagos, Paris, London, or New York or California. That is internationally accepted.

“We would have problems if we had fired live bullets at them, but when you fire teargas at protesters to disperse them, you are not in breach of any known code, either nationally or internationally.

“I also want to use this opportunity to state clearly that no citizen, either in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano or anywhere, is currently in detention as a result of this isolated incident.

“As long as protesters conduct themselves within the confines of the law; they do not constitute themselves into nuisances, they do not breach the rights of other citizens, they do not obstruct traffic, they do not compel other citizens to join their protests, the police will largely work with them.

“When you protest in contravention of these sets of conditions I have given, clearly you are coming in direct conflict with the laws of the land, and the police will never stand by idly and watch you create problems for the entire polity.”

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