IN the past 12 days, many Nigerians have taken to the streets to demand an end to police brutality across the country.
Their resolve to see a total overhaul of the police force, particularly the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), has fueled the spate of #EndSARS protests in several states. As the protests continue to gain momentum, Jake Okechukwu Effoduh (an Abuja Global Shapers Alum) with input from Abuja Global Shapers have compiled a list of 10 guidelines to direct and inform the activities of protesters.
1. Protesters do not require formal approval to conduct a protest or demonstration in Nigeria. Protesters don’t need a police permit, or a certificate to organize a protest.
2. Protesters do not need any permission to make or hold signs, flags or banners. Protesters also do not need permits to use their blankets, individual chairs, tables etc.
3. Protesters are allowed to sing, march and dance etc. Songs and chants, however, should not be offensive, harmful, or be unreasonably loud.
4. Food and beverages are allowed to be consumed during protests. Alcohol is however not permitted to be sold, distributed or consumed. Protesters should avoid lighting fires, throwing knockouts, or erecting structures that will damage the land.
5. It is important that at intervals protesters allow for the free movement of other road users or pedestrians. When roads are blocked by protesters, they can ensure there are alternative routes created for people to move and commute.
6. Protesters can also use their vehicles and other automobiles, but vehicles should not be parked on public landscaped areas. Cars should be driven at very minimal speed so as not to run into other protesters.
7. Protests are required to be civil. There should be no trespass to private property; there should be no obstruction of protected premises; and there should be no physical violence without lawful excuse. Violence in any form should be deescalated, denounced and reported.
8. Hijackers of protests when identified should be disassociated from the group and handed to the authorities. Weapons are not advised to be around protest premises. The use of sticks, stones, farm equipment or any objects that can cause injuries are advised to be kept away and removed.
9. Infants and children should not be engaged in crowded protests. First aid kits, umbrellas, jackets, face masks and water bottles are helpful during protests. COVID-19 protocols should be observed. Minority groups especially persons living with disabilities should be respected and protected within these spaces.
10. There is no maximum duration of a protest.