After weeks of protests against reports of torture and widespread brutality by the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) arm of Nigerian law enforcement, police officers opened fire this past Tuesday on a crowd of demonstrators killing at least 12 and wounding countless others. The horrific escalation amplified the calls to disband the unit with videos of the violence going viral on social media and protests standing in solidarity with Nigerian public breaking out globally.
Several celebrities including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Naomi Campbell, John Boyega, Lizzo, Chance the Rapper, Kanye West and more have since joined in to voice their support for the #EndSars campaign.
"I can't bare to see this torture and brutalization that is continuing to affect nations across our planet!" Rihanna posted on her Twitter and Instagram Stories. "It's such a betrayal to the citizens, the very people put in place to protect are the ones we are most afraid of being murdered by! My heart is broken for Nigeria man!! It is unbearable to watch! I'm so proud of your strength and not letting up on the fight for what's right! #ENDSARS."
On Instagram Beyoncé wrote, "I am heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria. There has to be an end to SARS." She goes on to add, "we have been working on partnerships with youth organizations to support those protesting for change. We are collaborating with coalitions to provide emergency healthcare, food and shelter. To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand with you."
To donate or support the people of Nigeria, organizations like the Feminist Coalition, Connected Development and a GoFundMe set up by Diasporans Against SARS are all good places to start. If you are unable to donate or go to a protest, organizers have asked people to keep spreading awareness of the situation by using the hashtag #EndSARS.
Photo via Getty/PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP