Beyoncé, John Boyega and More Speak Out on Police Brutality Protests in Nigeria
By Antoinette Bueno
Guy Smallman/Getty Images
Celebrities are speaking out about the ongoing protests calling for an end to police brutality in Nigeria, which turned deadly on Tuesday.
Thousands in the West African country have taken to the streets since the beginning of October, calling for the shutdown of a police unit, the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), which has been accused of widespread abuse, including brutality, extortion and harassment. The government disbanded the unit on Oct. 11, however, the protests have continued, calling for law enforcement reform. A curfew is now in effect, and calls for justice have escalated after Nigerian police allegedly opened fire at protesters at the Lekki Toll Plaza on Tuesday.
According to The Associated Press, human rights group Amnesty International said late Tuesday there was "credible but disturbing evidence" that security forces in Lagos had fatally shot protesters who were demonstrating against police brutality.
ET recently spoke with John Boyega, who has been speaking out on social media about the ongoing situation, and he explained why the situation is so personal to him.
"I actually have a unique experience, I'm actually a Nigerian citizen, I have dual citizenship here in the U.K. and in Nigeria," he said. "I go back a lot, I go back frequently, I love Nigeria. I worked in Nigeria and spent so much time there. I love the people, my loved ones are over there in several different states, so to see Nigeria going through this change of revolution, for me, it's so important for those of us who are in comfort to lend our voice because if we don't, if we stay silent, who are we? Truly. And who are we as people, truly? And can we say we are truly people who can convey love if we don't know how to speak out when our own people back home are suffering in this way? So, it's just what we have to do."
As the hashtag #EndSARS has been receiving global support online, a growing number of celebs have taken to social media to address the protests.
Beyoncé Instagrammed on Tuesday, "I am heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria. There has to be an end to SARS. 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. To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand by you."
In a video Idris Elba posted on Instagram, the actor shared his support for protesters.
"Calling on Africans to unite in protest against what is happening on Nigerian soil," he wrote. "The leadership of other African nations need to make their voices heard for the protesters of SARS. From one leader to another, show them some perspective on the way they are handling the youth, IT IS WRONG and should be met with HEAVY criticism and positioning. AFRICA should not turn its back on this situation, the WORLD LEADERSHIP should not turn its back on this situation. Use your power and reach to influence the Nigerian government to govern this situation better and not spill blood."