On Tuesday ( Oct 20) Beyoncé took to Instagram to share her support of protestors and activists fighting on the frontlines of the #EndSARS movement and speak out against the violent attacks that they are facing at the hands of police. According to published reports, Amnesty International has confirmed that the Nigerian army and police killed at least 12 peaceful protesters Tuesday at two locations in Lagos. The rights group says the killings took place at Alausa and Lekki, both suburbs of Lagos. TIME reports that on Tuesday evening, reports and videos on social media appeared to show the Nigerian army opening fire on unarmed peaceful #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos after reportedly turning off the street lights and cutting phone networks.
After news of the attack spread on social media, Bey took to social media revealing that news of the violent attacks have left her “heartbroken,” before adding that she stands in full support of protestors noting that she has partnered with several organizations in Nigeria to provide food, shelter, and emergency healthcare to those on the frontline in need.
“I am truly heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria,” Beyonce wrote. “There has to be an end to SARS. We have been working on partnerships with youth organizations to support those protesting for change,” Bey continued. “We are collaborating with coalitions to provide emergency healthcare, food, and shelter. To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand with you.”
Protests over a now-disbanded police unit – the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) – have been taking place for two weeks, with demonstrators using the social media hashtag #EndSars to rally crowds. BBC reports that as tensions continued to rise on Wednesday (Oct 21), police in different districts of Lagos fired shots in the air to disperse people defying the curfew
The #endSARS hashtag on Twitter dates back to 2017 when it was used to share experiences of assault and violence. SARS was formed in 1984 to combat an increase in armed robbery and crime but has been widely accused of unlawful arrests and other abuses. Amnesty International reported at least 82 cases of torture, ill-treatment, and extra-judicial execution between January 2017 and May 2020. Despite promises of reform, Amnesty says SARS officers still act with impunity.
An indefinite 24-hour curfew has been imposed on Lagos and other regions.
To lend your support in the global fight to end SARS, check out the vetted list of organizations below.