Thousands of protesters across Nigeria have taken to the streets to demand the disbandment of a rogue unit of the country’s police, the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS).
The protesters accused SARS, a unit created to stop armed robberies, of robbing and brutalising innocent civillians.
Following the use of force, including tear gas, on the protesters by security agencies in the country, human rights group, Amnesty International, has given participants some tips on safely attending the anti-brutality protests.
AI in a tweet on Saturday said, “Know that police officers are responsible for upholding the law and protecting the rights of all members of society, not picking and choosing who they want to protect and who they do not.
“Everyone has the right to carry their opinion on to the streets
“You have a right to document the protest – the authorities can’t keep you from filming or writing down what police actions, police brutality, or injuries are inflected on protestors.”
The rights group offered the following tips:
- Be sure to wear sneakers – this will help you stay comfortable as you stand on your feet all day, but also allow you to move quickly if needed, to escape.
- Be mindful of the accessories you have on – loose, dangling jewellery may easily be grabbed. #EndSARS
- Before heading to a protest, be mindful of the clothing and accessories you wear. Be sure to wear clothing that covers all your skin – this will protect you not only from the sun and rain but also from tear gas if used against peaceful protestors.
- Charge your phone, carry a spare battery or power bank. Keep important information on a piece of paper, for example, your lawyer mobile number and family member. Make sure you have enough credit on your phone.”
What to bring to protest
- Water, water, water and more water. This will keep you hydrated and a bottle with a squirt top will allow you to wash off your skin or eyes if needed.
- Watch, paper, pen for accurate documentation of events, police brutality, injuries.
- Your personal safety should always be a priority while taking pictures and videos in a peaceful assembly or sending text messages and web updates.”
Dealing with teargas
- Be sure to stay calm. Panicking increases irritation.
- Breathe slowly and remember it is only temporary.
- See it coming, and monitor if police are putting gas masks.”
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