At least a hundred people gathered at Nathan’s Philip’s Square in Toronto last night as part of a growing international movement to end police brutality in Nigeria and to honour its victims.
The #EndSARS protests – which references the Special Anti-Robbery Squad – have been occurring around the world in a show of solidarity with the Nigerian people, and to pressure Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari, to disband the squad.
Violence on Tuesday in the Lagos area resulted in the deaths of 12 people.
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The powerful and emotional moment of the crowd singing together, many with a raised candle in hand, took place in Nathan Philips Square at 7 p.m..
Another demonstration was scheduled for the same time in Victoria Park Fields in Whitby.
The SARS unit was established as a police force by the Nigerian government in 1992 and has been accused of violence and harrassment ever since. According to an Al Jazeera article on the history of SARS, the government recently promised to dissolve it, but critics have pointed out that the government has made similar promises in each of the last four years.
An Amnesty International report in 2009 contended that there were hundreds of unwarranted police killings across the West African country every year.
As of the 2016 census, there were 26,560 people of Nigerian descent in Ontario, almost 20,000 of them in Toronto.