While the struggle to #EndSARSNow and the End SARS protests rage on, it is important to take a step back as well and consider the factors that have made this movement so unrelenting, so widespread and so consistent. We breakdown some of the most important strategies and techniques used in the protests so far and this way you can understand and help play your part by joining any of these efforts.
The widespread abuse of SARS
I can comfortably mention more than 50 names of young boys and men who have been killed by the men of Awkuzu and Ekwulobia SARS from 2008-till date.
You never heard of it, they never made it to Twitter, but just know that these demons kill on daily basis. #EndSarsNow
— Ike Agụata (@Ike_Obiora) October 10, 2020
The first thing to understand is that for many Nigerians, protesting SARS is not protesting an unfamiliar evil. Many young Nigerians have intimate traumatic encounters with the unit or at least a familiar story of harassment and injustice from the police. In other words, too many people have suffered too much for too long. In that light, the anger of the protests isn’t unusual but a natural reaction to the status quo.
For a very long time, Nigerians, especially young Nigerians felt their voices could not be heard. Until social media stepped in. Successful campaigns on a much smaller scale have shown Nigerians that with the right amount of organization and retweets, their voices can be heard. For example, the Not Too Young To Run Movement‘
Special Credit here also has to go to the group of young Nigerians online called “Twitter Feminists” who time and time again have shown how you can mobilize resources and funds to achieve a common goal online and have been on the forefront of the End SARS movement as well.
If your group gets arrested please do not resist. Ask them politely for where you are being taken to & for you to contact someone. Send a text to someone you trust to contact me or @feminist_co and we will try our best to get a lawyer to you ASAP. #EndSARS
— Moe (@Mochievous) October 11, 2020
So glad the Nigerian protests are not being led by any cabal or opportunistic group. No one to drag into an office to “settle” or threaten. I am proud to see it all. Especially the brave women on the frontlines. Aisha Yesufu, Rinu, the feminists looking out for women etc #ENDSARS
— Elnathan John (@elnathan_john) October 10, 2020
Perhaps the most key feature of this protest is that unlike protests of the past, the End SARS campaign is unique in the sense that there is no one leader or body of leaders the government can attempt to intimidate or bribe. Instead, they are met with a crowd with a simple demand. End SARS. The protesters do not look to celebrities or politicians for leadership but instead march in one beat. This hasn’t stopped the threats against some of the more public personalities campaigning but the lack of a leader, far from being a source of confusion, has helped keep the fires of the outrage burning and egos at bay.
Protest Wherever You Are And However You Can.
This is the beauty of the decentralized SARS protests and its greatest strength. It doesn’t matter where you are or how many you are, the city you are in, you can march, organizes protest, or just vigorously retweet content to ensure the trend remains alive.
For a list of protests near you click here
Spamming International Brands
It really has been that simple. To sure the virality of the hashtag on Twitter, Nigerians have been spamming the #EndSARS in every nook and cranny of the internet, especially on Twitter no matter the context of the post they are responding to. The result? At its peak, the #EndSARS was the number one trend in the entire world. This coupled with its gruesome live videos of abuse and tear-gassing of protesters by the Nigerian Police, the unfortunate and tragic death of protesters, and suddenly it was all everyone on the international scene could talk about. This leads us to our next point
Bypassing the Nigerian media and Soliciting international support
The coverage of the protests by the mainstream Nigerian media has been disappointing and embarrassing with headlines such as this
But due to the efforts of the protesters and the power of social media, the goal has never been to get local news stations onboard but to magnify their outrage in a way that the international news outlets take notice. It worked –
Now the goal has become to sustain a trend for continued visibility and coverage as well as publicizing the faces of the police officers carrying out atrocities and the missing protesters to ensure their safety.
Several Nigerian organizations like Flutterwave and PiggyBank etc. spearheaded the effort to raise funds to help victims of SARS and support protesters and have opened these efforts up to donations from the public. The funds and donations are being used for the general welfare e.g food, health care, etc of protesters and victims of police brutality.
You can donate here – www.feministcoalition2020.com
Mobilizing Legal Representation
Several protesters have already been arrested by the police in Abeokuta but the beauty or the #EndSARS protests is that we the people have anticipated this retaliatory measure by the police. Protesters have been mobilizing volunteering legal services for days to pro bono to ensure representation for arrested protesters.
We at SociaLiga stand against all forms of harassment, abuse of power, and police brutality. We condemn such acts and as such, we are fully behind the #EndSARS movement. We urge you that whatever method you do choose to use to support, please don’t be silent. Join us at SociaLiga to #EndSARS.
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