“I am heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria. There has to be an end to SARS,” Beyoncé wrote on her official website. “We have been working on partnerships with youth organizations to support those protesting for change. We are collaborating with coalitions to provide emergency healthcare, food and shelter.”
Nigeria has been swept by a wave of protests from citizens who are urging the government to break-up the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the unit of the Nigerian police that has come under scrutiny after footage recently went viral of the squad beating a man to death.
Protesters have reportedly been hit with tear gas and stun grenades during recent clashes between the marchers and police over calls to disband the unit, which was founded in 1992 in an effort to curb robberies.
CNN reported that the protests in the capital of Lagos got bloody on Tuesday amid a state-wide curfew after two weeks of ongoing street demonstrations, with eyewitnesses saying that a number of demonstrators were shot by soldiers. The state governor imposed a 24-hour curfew on Tuesday in response to the daily marches over claims that SARS officers have been involved in kidnapping, harassment and extortion.
Joining the rising chorus of voices supporting the protesters, Minaj wrote, “Standing with & praying for the brave young people of Nigeria who are on the front lines of this senseless violence. Your voice is being heard,” with Big Sean saying, “Nigeria!!! Y’all on my heart! It’s horrific over there! So many people being murdered for peaceful protesting about being murdered! #EndSARS.”
Trevor Noah also took on the protests on Tuesday night’s Daily Show in one of his “If You Don’t Know Now You Know” segments, saying, “This issue isn’t just unique in the U.S. Whether it’s U.S. police targeting Black Americans or Nigerian police targeting other Nigerians, police know they can abuse their power without any ramifications because the people they arrest don’t have the power to respond.”
Check out some of the messages below.