EndSARS protests continue in Nigeria two days after killing of close to a dozen people

The attack on protesters in Lagos on Tuesday has led to further protests both in the country and abroad. Nigerians have been protesting for systemic changes in policing since early October

October 22, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Nigeria EndSars

Two days after armed forces fired on protesters in Nigeria killing close to a dozen people, the EndSARS protests continued on Thursday, October 22. Protesters took to the streets across the country condemning state repression, as well as reiterating their demand for structural reforms to the police. A round-the-clock curfew was enforced in Lagos on Thursday. On Wednesday, a number of people had been detained for protesting state violence.

On Tuesday, protesters who had peacefully gathered in the Lekki suburb in Lagos were fired upon by the armed forces and police. Amnesty International said that at least 12 people had been killed. This led to a huge outrage in the country.

On Wednesday, a small group of protesters burnt down the offices of the Television Continental and the newspaper the Nation News. Both of these media outlets are owned by former Lagos state governor Bola Tinubu.

According to Sahara Reporters, protesters believe that Tinubu has been responsible for the deployment of the army leading to the killing of the protesters. Sporadic gunshots were heard from different parts of the city throughout the day.

Tuesday’s firing, as well the continuing repression by the state has been widely condemned internationally. In a statement, the Socialist Forum of Ghana demanded that “the Nigerian authorities stand their troops down and respect the human and constitutional rights of citizens. They must halt the intimidation and gunfire and open a dialogue with the citizens they are meant to serve. They can build confidence by meeting the core demands of the protesters.” The SFG highlighted the long-term challenge of imperialism and called on the Nigerian youth “to develop a correct analysis of this dynamic and develop the organization, strategy, and tactics to address fundamental problems.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and the UN secretary general Antonio Guterres condemned the state violence against peaceful protesters on Wednesday and demanded an independent inquiry against those who are responsible. Guterres also demanded an end to police brutality in the country.

In London, the UK, thousands of Nigerians and their allies gathered outside the Nigerian embassy to protest against the shooting. Similar protests were organised in New York and several other parts of the world.

Protesters in Nigeria are demanding the end of the police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) which has been accused of several atrocities and corruption. Protesters are also demanding widespread police reforms. While the government did announce on October 11 that the SARS would be abolished, there was widespread distrust among the people as similar promises had been made before.

The protesters’ fears were confirmed when shortly after, the police announced the formation of a Special Weapons and Tactics Squad (SWAT) as an alternative to the SARS. People feel that most of the officers of SARS will be deployed in SWAT and the police oppression will go on albeit in a different name.