Armed gangs seen in Lagos as protests continue

Armed gangs stopped cars on a main road leading into Lagos on Friday (October 23) - a day after Nigerian President Buhari called for demonstrations against police brutality to end. A highway leading to the international airport was obstructed by blockades manned by groups of young men, who demanded cash from motorists. A Reuters witness said that buses whose drivers refused to pay were destroyed. To the east of the city - in Lekki - armed men chased away police and several police stations were burned to the ground. Violence in Africa's biggest city has escalated since Tuesday night, when a curfew was announced. It is the worst street violence since Nigeria's return to civilian rule in 1999 and a serious political crisis for President Buhari. Rights group Amnesty International said soldiers and police killed at least 12 protesters in Lekki and Alausa on Tuesday. The army has denied soldiers were at the site of the shooting, where people had gathered in defiance of the curfew. In a national address on Thursday, Buhari himself also urged youths to stop the street protests and - quote - engage "constructively". It was his first public address since the shootings began. He lamented the loss of innocent lives, but did not directly refer to the Lekki incident that has been condemned internationally. Many of those on the streets said Buhari's speech had angered them because of his failure to address the Lekki incident. Lagos authorities have struggled to enforce a round-the-clock curfew imposed as anger over the killings rose.