World Tour – Protests in Nigeria, and terror in France

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: World Tour with Africa reporter Onize Ohikere.

ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: Ten killed in Nigerian protests against police brutality—We start today here in Africa.

PROTESTER: End police brutality…

At least 10 people have died in Nigeria during protests against police brutality.

The protests began two weeks ago. Thousands of Nigerians took to the streets, calling for an end to a notorious police unit: The Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS.

Human rights groups accuse SARS of torture and sexual abuse. Following days of protests, the government disbanded the unit. But the unrest continues.

PROTESTER: I am just a young Nigerian and I am angry and we are all angry here, we want police brutality to end, we want SARS disbandment complete.

Protesters are now calling for widespread police reform. More than 10,000 people clogged the streets of Lagos over the weekend. Police responded with force, firing tear gas, water cannons, and live bullets into the crowd. Protesters say that’s further proof that things need to change.

The Nigerian government has announced a new police unit to replace SARS, and pledged to hold officers accountable.

Kyrgyzstan president resigns—Next, we go to Asia.

Kyrgyzstan’s embattled president is stepping down after weeks of unrest. Sooronbai Jeenbekov is the third president in 15 years to resign after a popular uprising.

A disputed parliamentary election sparked the chaos. Pro-government parties swept the vote, but protesters say they rigged the election. Hours after the polls closed, protesters stormed government buildings and demanded the president’s resignation. They freed several activists from prison, including opposition leader Sadyr Zhaparov . They appointed him prime minister.

Jeenbekov initially refused to step down, but relented when protesters began facing off against the military. He said if he stayed in power, he feared “blood would be shed.”

French teacher beheaded—Next, we go to Europe.

AUDIO: [Paris crowd]

Thousands of Parisians gathered this weekend to mourn the murder of a teacher. Samuel Paty was beheaded in Paris on Friday after showing cartoons of Muhammad in class. Police say an 18-year-old man from Chechnya was behind the killing. He claimed responsibility in a social media post minutes after the attack. Police shot and killed him when he refused to surrender.

Samuel Paty taught history and geography. During a recent class, Paty led a discussion about freedom of expression and showed students the controversial cartoons of Muhammad. The father of one of Paty’s student’s filed a complaint. He publicly called for Paty’s dismissal, saying the pictures were “hateful” and offensive to Muslims. Paty began getting threatening phone calls. Ten days later, he was killed outside the school in a Paris suburb.

Police have arrested 11 suspects associated with the beheading, including the attacker’s parents and brother.

Jacinda Ardern wins second term—And finally, we end today in New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern won a second term in office on Saturday, by a landslide.

ARDERN: Let’s step forward together. Ka Hoake tonu tatou. Let’s keep moving. [applause]

Ardern took office three years ago. At age 40, she was one of the world’s youngest female leaders. During her first term, New Zealand faced a lethal volcanic eruption, and the Christchurch terror attacks when a gunman killed 51 people at two different mosques. Ardern gained widespread support for her sympathetic response.

Over the past few months, Ardern has implemented strict lockdowns on the island nation. The strategy almost eradicated COVID-19 in the country, but also sent the economy into its deepest recession in decades. But Ardern earned widespread praise for her handling of the pandemic. She credits that strategy for her landslide victory.

That’s this week’s World Tour. Reporting for WORLD, I’m Onize Ohikere in Abuja, Nigeria.

(AP Photo/Sunday Alamba) People hold banners as they demonstrate on the street to protest against police brutality, in Lagos, Nigeria, Tuesday Oct. 20, 2020. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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