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June 11, 2004

News 24 - South Africa

Lagos - Nigeria's police force, notorious for its strong-arm tactics in dealing with street protests, unveiled Friday one of the more melodious weapons in its armoury - an impromptu male a cappella choir. On Wednesday a squad of officers was caught on camera by the international news network CNN apparently singing along with a crowd of workers and a well known pop star in a Lagos market on the first day of a general strike.

But police spokesperson Chris Olakpe, in a strongly worded statement, insisted that the officers were not, in fact, protesting or even enjoying themselves, but instead using the power of song to calm a potentially tense situation. Olakpe said the squad had followed the popular musician "Charly Boy" and a large group of motorcycle-taxi riders to the Tejuosho market in Lagos during a day of protests against rising fuel prices.

"Consequently a large crowd of onlookers gathered around Charly Boy's convoy and started chanting songs," the statement said. "In order to disperse the crowd and considering the market location and attendant market psychology, the police embarked on a distracting ploy of singing Mobile Police parade songs, which caught the fancy of the crowd, who became spectators," it explained. "The crowd, having satisfied themselves, dispersed peacefully."

Posted by acapnews at June 11, 2004 11:17 PM

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