In Nigeria, nationwide protests against police brutality began on Oct. 8 after a video emerged in early October showing police officers thought to be from the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or (“SARS” allegedly shooting and killing a young man in Nigeria’s southern Delta State). Since, #EndSARS protests, let by frustrated young people who say they have been unfairly profiled by SARS, have continued for more than two weeks. In response to the widespread demonstrations, “the Nigerian government announced that it would disband the SARS unit”, not satisfied with the government’s response, still the daily protests continue with demands to end all police brutality and corruption.
What is SARS?
The Special Anti-Robbery Squad was founded in the 1990s to handle a wave of crime in Nigeria. Although SARS was once praised for reducing crime, it soon confronted accusations of perpetrating the same abuses it was formed to address. The government repeatedly promised to reform SARS and/or disband it over the years but with no real action.
On October 21, peaceful protester in Lagos said some of the soldiers reached the crowd and asked them to leave in compliance with a curfew imposed by the authorities earlier on Tuesday, and when the protesters demanding an end to police brutality refused, the soldiers began firing into the air, before turning their guns towards them, according to an Al Jazeera report. And even after the Lagos attack shocked the nation, “peaceful protesters say they will not give up their fight against police brutality and injustice.”