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World What to know about Nigeria's #EndSARS protests

20:45  16 october  2020
20:45  16 october  2020 Source:   msn.com

The young protesters who forced a president to back down

  The young protesters who forced a president to back down Nigeria's #EndSARS protests gathered momentum online, but burst onto the streets to force a change.Despite forcing the president to disband the unit, they are not satisfied as they want total police reforms and for officers in the rogue department to face justice.

Read more: # EndSARS protests expose Nigeria ' s fault lines. But this time, an energized youth movement took to the streets and vowed not to back down before substantial change were made. The protests have since spread to many states across Nigeria and are centered in the largest city, Lagos.

Protests have erupted in Nigeria over police brutality and the SARS unit, where peaceful demonstrations in cities like Lagos have been met with violence. The # EndSARS movement began back in 2017. But in a matter of a few weeks, the hashtag # EndSARS has been shared worldwide in

Protests against police violence in Nigeria show no sign of stopping as thousands continue to take to the streets despite announcements of reforms by the government.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Demonstrators have made five demands that include structural police reforms and better pay for officers © PIUS UTOMI EKPEI Demonstrators have made five demands that include structural police reforms and better pay for officers

The demonstrations erupted this month and were initially focused on abolishing the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), accused of unlawful detention, extortion and extra-judicial killings.

#EndSARS: Nigeria's young protesters demand real change

  #EndSARS: Nigeria's young protesters demand real change Dancing, chanting and determined: thousands of young Nigerians are jamming the streets of megacity Lagos to protest against police violence and vent at a society they feel sidelines them. West Africa's economic hub and beating heart, normally bustling with traffic, is at a standstill as demonstrators have occupied major roads day after day since last week. The gigantic Lekki Toll Gate, a key junction in and out of the city of 20 million people, is the main stage for the ongoing festival of contestation.

The # EndSARS protests shook Nigeria for two weeks in October as the country' s youths campaigned against a now disbanded police unit known as Sars. # EndSars protesters took to the streets across Nigeria for nearly two weeks calling for the scrapping of a notorious police unit over alleged abuses.

End SARS is a decentralised social movement, and series of mass protests against police brutality in Nigeria . The slogan calls for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)

a close up of a bridge: In the streets and online, the youth has been asking for more and better jobs, an end to power cuts, more freedom of expression and better representation in politics © PIUS UTOMI EKPEI In the streets and online, the youth has been asking for more and better jobs, an end to power cuts, more freedom of expression and better representation in politics

But after the government announced the unit would be dissolved, thousands of mainly young protesters have remained out on the streets pushing for genuine change in the country.

a person holding a sign: A youth holds up a sign reading © Benson Ibeabuchi A youth holds up a sign reading "Am I Next?"

- Why did the protests start? -

In early October a video spread on social media showing what looked like a SARS officer attacking a man in Delta state.

The video was shared massively in the country of 200 million people and thousands started sharing their own stories of police abuse online.

"Nigerian youth have campaigned against SARS for years," Bulama Bukarti wrote for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Attacks against Nigeria protesters 'escalating'

  Attacks against Nigeria protesters 'escalating' Protesters at the offices of the central bank are wounded after being attacked, rights group says.Armed thugs had attacked protesters at the headquarters of the central bank in the capital, Abuja, it said.

The ENDSARS protests against police violence show no sign of stopping as thousands continue to take to the streets despite announcements of reforms by the federal government. The demonstrations erupted this month and were initially focused on abolishing the federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad

Nigeria ' s mass # EndSARS protests , like those seen here in Lagos, attracted international attention on social media sites. Fear of a rebranded SARS. The infamous police unit has left a trail of bodies and broken lives in its wake across Nigeria .

a sign above a store: Protests against police brutality in Lagos © Pierre FAVENNEC Protests against police brutality in Lagos

But the recent video "resonated with thousands across the country and led to youth pouring out en masse onto the streets."

- Why did the protests spread? -

In the course of days, the hashtag #EndSARS topped the global trends on Twitter, supported by world famous Afrobeat popstars like Davido and Wizkid. Their engagement gave visibility to the movement.

There was a violent crackdown by police on some of the first protests. At least 10 people were killed and hundreds were injured according to Amnesty International.

The brutal response drew more people onto the streets and emboldened protesters began to push further.

- Who supports the movement ? -

As numbers have swelled at home, eye-catching demonstrations have also been held abroad, most notably involving the large Nigerian community in London.

Nigeria’s Protests Over Police Torture and Killings Go Viral

  Nigeria’s Protests Over Police Torture and Killings Go Viral ABUJA, Nigeria—On October 3, a horrific video went viral on social media, which showed officers from Nigerian police force’s notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) dragging two young men from a hotel in Lagos and executing one of them in the street. The video was a tipping point for many Nigerians. For the past three weeks, tens of thousands across the country have taken to the streets calling for the scrapping of SARS. The government, after years of inaction on the violent unit, has finally been forced to disband it—but critics say the worst offenders are just being moved to different roles.Reports of brutality by SARS are common in Nigeria.

What is # endSARS ? The # endSARS movement and accompanying hashtag began in 2017, Time reports. The protests against police brutality and corruption have no formal leader, but are predominantly organized and populated by young Nigerians , who have been disproportionately

What is # endSARS ? The # endSARS movement and accompanying hashtag began in 2017, Time reports. The protests against police brutality and Demonstrations began on October 8 after a video allegedly showing SARS officers shooting a man in Nigeria ’ s Delta State was widely shared on social

"The diaspora's participation was immensely impactful because Nigerian politicians are easily unsettled by negative news outside the country, especially in the West," said Bukarti.

Following in the steps of Nigerian celebrities, international stars like Cardi B, Kanye West and Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey joined in and expressed support for #EndSARS.

- How is the government responding? -

Bowing to the pressure, president Muhammadu Buhari announced on October 11 that SARS would be dissolved, with immediate effect.

He said the move was "only the first step" in more extensive reforms to Nigeria's police.

A new SWAT unit was announced to replace SARS, with promises that it will be "ethical".

SARS officers will not be eligible for the new unit and will have to undergo psychological evaluation before being redeployed, police said.

The government said police abuses will be investigated and prosecuted.

But these announcements have not appeased the street and demonstrations have continued.

- How long will protests last? -

"Nigerians are sceptical of the authorities' pledge to end police atrocities because the past claims of reforming SARS have turned out to be empty words," said Osai Ojigho, director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

Demonstrators have made five demands that include structural police reforms and better pay for officers.

"Senior ranking officers are known to maintain a perverse bribery pyramid which requires that poorly paid rank-and-file officers transfer bribes extorted from citizens up the chain of command," wrote Leena Koni Hoffmann, associate fellow at Chatham House.

Many of the demonstrators have begun calling for more wide-sweeping change as they look to seize the moment to bring real change to their country.

While Nigeria is Africa's largest economy, more than half of the populaton lives in poverty and youth unemployment rates are significant.

In the streets and online, the youth has been asking for more and better jobs, an end to power cuts, more freedom of expression and better representation in politics.

For some, like Bukarti, "this may just be the beginning, rather than the end, of massive protests in Nigeria."

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#EndSARS: How Nigerians harness social media against police abuse .
Activists use online platforms to raise awareness and coordinate protests, as well as connect with volunteers.This was far from the first time Nigerians had made such a demand. It was, however, by far, the first time their calls garnered such widespread support and international media coverage – thanks, largely, to the prominent role of social media in spreading the word.

usr: 3
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