Like many recent movements, #ENDSARS started with a viral video.
This video was of a man being shot and killed by Nigeria’s Special anti-robbery squad (SARS) police officers. According to Al Jazeera the Nigerian authorities denied the authenticity of the video.
The man who filmed the video was arrested, leading to even more anger from Nigerians.
A tweet of the video then went viral. It was retweeted over 10 000 times and was filled with comments by other Nigerians who had experienced brutality at the hands of SARS officers.
From people who alleged that they had been extorted, or beaten or knew of a friend or family member who had been attacked.
There were also women who claimed to have been sexually assaulted – it seemed too many people had similar stories of years of terror under officers from the specialized unit.
This kicked off protests where young people took to the streets of Nigeria to call for the end SARS. They also trended globally on social media platforms where many Nigerians asked people around the world to help them in their fight against police brutality.
Although the hashtag has only recently trended, the first tweets about putting an end to SARS were tweeted in 2017, according to Global Citizen.
Celebrities such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Cassper Nyovest, Bonang Matheba and Pearl Thusi have used their platforms to bring awareness to the cause.
Shootings at Lekki Toll Gate and Alausa!RT for the whole world to see that we demanded for accountability & an end to police brutality.But the government is replying back with force.Is this still democracy or a sham of a nation?#EndBadGoveranceInNigeria #EndSARS— DJ Switch (@DJSwitch__) October 20, 2020
This has gone on for close to two weeks and recently, according to rights group Amnesty International, the protest had turned bloody.
According to BBC Nigeria correspondent Nayeni Jones protesters said that uniformed men opened fire on them in Lekki on Tuesday evening.
Multiple heart-breaking and violent videos have been posted under the #ENDSARS on Twitter with videos of protestors carrying severely injured and some allegedly dead comrades.
An indefinite 24-hour curfew has been imposed on Lagos and other regions by their government, according to CBS News.
What Is the SARS?
SARS is the Special Anti-Robbery Squad which was established in 1984 at a time where Nigeria faced high cases of violent crime and kidnappings. Initially SARS was reported to being successful in reducing cases of crime and violence until it became notorious for making unlawful arrests, torturing civilians and extrajudicial killings.
How can you help?
There are multiple ways you can help bring awareness to police brutality in Nigeria, in addition to keeping informed about the protests and sharing credible information about the cause on your social media.