#EndSARS protest held in Castlegate
Protest against police brutality in Nigeria took place in Castlegate on Saturday
By: Rory Buccheri and Anttoni Numminen
Photograph: courtesy of Onyinye
This afternoon (24.10.20) protesters gathered in Castlegate to advocate for the end of a now-notorious Nigerian police unit, SARS, and to denounce the crimes of the Nigerian government against its people.
The protest is one of many currently going on across the world, with more and more people, including well-known celebrities, joining in to raise awareness.
SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad), a Nigerian police force instituted in 1992 to deal with robberies and armed crimes, has been recently accused of human rights violations and police brutality, with at least one fatality confirmed.
Around 150 people turned out to the protest in Aberdeen today. The turnout was “incredible”, commented one of the protesters, adding that ‘it was amazing to see the Nigerian community coming together to protest’.
The protest, organised mostly “by word of mouth” and with a small outreach on socials, was "very successful" according to the organisers.
Another attendee said she took part in the demonstration, because: “I believe in my country Nigeria. I am out here to stand for what I believe is a great course for our nation, to lend my voice to my contemporaries back home. Nigeria is a great country, with bad leaders depleting our resources.
She said she hoped the protest would send a strong message to Nigerian leaders and that it would bring about a reform of the police and judiciary in the country.
“To be honest, nothing is working in Nigeria, education, welfare, power supply, bad amenities and infrastructure. Just lots Nigerians are dealing with it and we want an end and better life for the citizens.”
Protest sign at the demonstration - Photograph: Rory Buccheri
Aberdeen is one of the many cities in the UK to join the protest. SARS was already accused of crimes against the population in June 2020, as investigated by Amnesty International.
The protests began after a video showing clear acts of violence against the population went viral.
As a result, on the 11th of October, the Nigerian government announced it would ban SARS and create a new organisation to replace it. The dissatisfaction caused by the announcement made people continue the protests, in the name of human rights and with the demand that Nigeria ends abuses through its police force.
In 2016, Nigeria’s police force was ranked as the worst out of 127 countries.
The Gaudie contacted North East Police for a comment on the demonstration but was told that there were “no reports or notable incidents for a protest in the Castlegate area or anywhere else in the North East today.”