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Last Updated: Monday, 27 June, 2005, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Nigerians free to hold protests
Nigerian soldiers and police
The constitution allows people to gather freely
Nigerians can hold peaceful protests without first seeking permission from the police, the federal High Court has ruled in a landmark judgement.

The Abuja held that a section of the 1999 Nigeria constitution nullified a 1990 Public Order Act, which stated permission was needed to hold rallies.

The constitution states all Nigerians are entitled to assemble freely.

Opposition parties brought the case after police forcefully dispersed a protest rally in Kano two years ago.

Many people were injured as the police raided a crowded stadium in the northern city on the basis that no permit had been sought for the demonstration.

The BBC's Hindu Waziri in Abuja says that Nigerian police have a history of violently suppressing large gatherings, particularly under the many years of military dictatorship, where scores of people lost their lives.

The ruling comes a few days before Nigeria's Supreme Court is due to give its ruling on the 2003 presidential election petition filed by the main opposition party.

Police thwart Nigerian protests
03 May 04 |  Africa


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