Protests against police brutality in Nigeria took a deadly turn yesterday as a growing youth-led effort to end the country’s notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and reform its policing system continued for a third week. According to eyewitnesses cited in news reports and on social media, soldiers on Tuesday opened fire on protesters in Lagos, the country’s largest city, while Amnesty International has warned that the violence there could escalate.
As protesters take to the streets, their voices are being amplified by viral hashtags, including #EndSARS, which have gained traction with the help of celebrity supporters such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, John Boyega, Jack Dorsey, and many others.
In response to the protests earlier this month, Nigeria’s president vowed to disband SARS, which has existed in its current form since 1992, but demonstrators say the move doesn’t address key concerns, and that broad-based reforms are necessary if the country is to move forward. As The Wall Street Journal reports, some worry that the squad’s worst offenders will not only escape punishment but will simply be reintegrated into the police force.
If you’re looking for ways to support the protesters and their cause, we’ve rounded up some things you can do from afar.
- Feminist Coalition, a group based in Nigeria, has been collecting donations via bitcoin. Its website includes detailed instructions on how to contribute. Via Twitter, it’s also been transparent about how it’s using the funds. Find it here.
- A group of activists calling themselves “Diasporans Against SARS” have also been collecting donations via GoFundMe. Find it here.
- If you are in the United States and want to join a protest to draw attention to the cause, you can find a list here.
- Supporters of the End SARS movement are collecting resources via Carrd.co to help educate the public and draw more global attention to the issue. Learn more here.
- Amnesty International, the human rights group, wrote an in-depth profile of SARS and its history in early October. Find it here.
This story is developing . . .