(Abuja) – Nigerian security forces have responded to overwhelmingly peaceful protests against police brutality with more violence and abuse.
Nationwide protests began on October 8, 2020, calling on the authorities to abolish an abusive police unit called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). In response, the police have shot tear gas, water cannons, and live rounds at protesters, killing at least four people and wounding many others. Armed thugs have also disrupted protests and attacked protesters.
“People exercising their right to protest and calling for an end to police brutality are themselves being brutalized and harassed by those who should protect them,” said Anietie Ewang, Nigeria researcher at Human Rights Watch. “This underscores the importance of the protesters’ demands and the culture of impunity across the policing system, which is in dire need of reform.”
Protesters across the US have taken to the streets in the wake of George Floyd's death to demand an end to police brutality and what they see as systemic racism.
In response, Democrats have proposed legislation to address inequities and reduce deaths in custody, including measures that would require police to wear body cameras, ban chokeholds and make it easier to prosecute officers.