Nigerian police fire tear gas at #EndSars protests against brutality

Anita Izatu

Nigerian police have fired tear gas at a protest against police brutality in the capital Abuja.

A video of a man allegedly being killed by police sparked the latest protests.

Several other protests have taken place across Nigeria, including Lagos. Star Wars actor John Boyega is among the celebrities supporting the protesters.

The movement initially targeted the highly-criticised Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars), widely accused of unlawful arrests, torture and murder.


The hashtag #EndSARS was trending worldwide on Twitter on Friday with celebrities including the Nigerian superstars Wizkid and Davido tweeting their support for protesters.

More and more Nigerians started using the hashtag last Saturday following the alleged killing of a young man by officers from the Sars unit.

Many people were also using the hashtag to share stories of brutality attributed to the police unit.

On Sunday Nigeria’s inspector general of police, Mohammed Adamu banned the Sars unit from carrying out stop and search duties and setting up roadblocks.

He also said members of Sars must always wear uniforms and promised the unit would be investigated.

But protesters want the unit disbanded completely.

Gunshots heard

On Friday protesters marched to the police headquarters in Abuja.

An eyewitness, protester Brian Dennis, told the BBC that police used tear gas and some protesters were beaten up.

Videos shared on Twitter appear to show protesters running away from tear gas.

Another protester Anita Izato said she heard gunshots and protesters ran to safety.

It is the second day of protests against the police in Nigeria and in the biggest city, Lagos, protesters slept overnight outside government house.

Slow to change

The Star Wars Actor John Boyega, who has Nigerian heritage, tweeted his frustration at an apparent lack of change within the police.

The #EndSARS hashtag started as far back as 2018.

The National Human Rights Commission published a report into the activities of Sars in May 2019 but critics say little appears to have changed.

An investigation by the rights group Amnesty International investigation published in June accused Sars officers of using “torture and other ill-treatment to execute, punish and extract information from suspects”.

It documented 82 cases between January 2017 and May 2020.

Amnesty found the group allegedly targeted men between the ages of 17 and 30.

“Young men with dreadlocks, ripped jeans, tattoos, flashy cars or expensive gadgets are frequently targeted by SARS,” Amnesty said.

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