LAGOS (AFP) – The Nigerian police warned on Monday that “illegal” protesters would be arrested and those calling for regime change would face treason charges after unions called off a week-old nationwide strike.

“For the avoidance of doubt, any person henceforth found on the streets, roads or pathways in this country continuing with the protests or marches shall be arrested and be charged to court immediately,” a statement said.

It also said “any person or group of persons calling for a regime change before the expiration of the mandate period of the current government is committing treason and will be so arrested and prosecuted no matter who she or he is.”

Top rights activists and opposition politicians led massive rallies during the strike where some protesters suggested the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan step down over the January 1 removal of fuel subsidies that doubled pump prices.

Nigeria’s unions on Monday called off the strike — which was launched on January 9 and brought tens of thousands into the streets — following Jonathan’s decision to reduce fuel prices by around 30 percent.

As Jonathan made the announcement early Monday, soldiers deployed in key spots and occupied main protest sites. Authorities later fired tear gas, shot into the air and used armoured vehicles to disperse protesters.

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