Protest in Nigeria has become something we do behind closed door with our phones, logged on to a social media platform that’s if you’re lucky and don’t hurt anyone in the process.
Protest in layman term means to come together to publicly express disapproval or opposition to something you strongly disagree with or are angry.
It could also be about something you think is wrong or unfair stating that you disagree with it.
Protest maybe be in different form
It could be a Rally or demonstration, March, Vigil, Civil disobedience, Symbolic display, Riot and others.
The lack of knowledge by the government and police force prompted this piece. I keep wondering “what are Nigerians doing wrong that they always quick to fire at protesters or counter a protest”
It seems to be the perfect time to use their equipment they never get to use when it’s time to use but decide protests are the best time to use their weapons and tear gas.
I understand the use of teargas but why make use of it in a very peaceful protest thereby hurting innocent lives that just wants what’s best.
Let me take you back to history of protest that actually did some good.
The March on Washington (August 28, 1963)
More than 200,000 supporters marched on Washington DC calling for legislation to address systemic prejudices against African Americans.
That day, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” address at the base of the Lincoln Memorial, and organizers met with President John F Kennedy and members of Congress. The march is credited with building support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Selma to Montgomery (March 24, 1964)
Just a few months after the March on Washington and facing brutal opposition from police forces, 8,000 activists set out on the fifty miles from Selma, Alabama to the State’s capital to demand black voter enfranchisement.
The march lead to President Johnson passing the Voting Rights Act which forced all states in the US to register black voters.
Take Back the Night
Take Back the Night events started in the 1970s and continue to provide a banner for supporters around the world to march against violence against women. The marches are often organized as a direct response to specific murders of women.
South Africa’s National Day of Protest (26 June 1950)
Sometimes, it’s more effective not to hit the streets in protest. In 1950, Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress called on workers to stay home in protest of the apartheid government’s proposal to introduce a law that would allow it to investigate (and potentially prohibit) any political organization.
Hundreds of thousands of South Africans took part in the ‘Stay at Home’ protest, and the method was so impactful that it was used several times over the next decade.
Tiananmen Square (May – June 1989)
China saw a series of peaceful protests in favor of democratic reform. By June 4, 1989 at least one million protesters, mostly students were peacefully occupying Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Without provocation, the government sent in tanks to open fire on the protesters.
The number of casualties will likely never be known. But the massacre was captured by a famous photo of a single man facing off against a line of government tanks.
Some examples of protests include:
• Northern Europe in the early 16th century (Protestant Reformation)
• North America in the 1770s (American Revolution)
• Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, an anti-government protest by several hundred soldiers of the Continental Army
• France in 1789 (French Revolution)
• Haiti in 1803 (Haitian Revolution)
• The Haymarket riot, 1886, a violent labor protest led by the Anarchist Movement
• New York shirtwaist strike of 1909
• Martin Luther King’s 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a key moment in the Civil Rights Movement
• SOS (Save Our Sons) an Australian anti-conscription organization
• Protests against the Vietnam War
• Mexico 68
• The Stonewall riots in 1969 protesting the treatment of homosexuals in New York City
• The People Power Revolution in the Philippines
• The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989
• The many ACT-UP AIDS protests of the late 1980s and early 1990s
• The Seattle WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 protest activity against the World Trade Organization
• Anti-globalization Protests in Prague in 2000
• Anti-globalization Protests in Genoa from 18 to 22 July 2001
• 15 February 2003 Iraq War Protest
• Palestinian First Intifada Second Intifada
• Anti-nuclear protests
• 2007 Bersih rally
• 2010 Thai political protests
• 2011 Iranian protests
• Arab Spring protests
• Impact of the Arab Spring
• 2011 Occupy Wall Street protests
• Gezi Park protests 2013 in Turkey
• June 2013 Egyptian protests
• Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, Nov. 2013 through Feb. 2014
• Black Lives Matter
• 2014 Hong Kong Umbrella Movement
• 2016 South Korean protests
• 2017 Jallikattu protests
• Dakota Access Pipeline protests
• 2018 Tommy Robinson protests
• 2018 Sadiq Khan protests
• 2018 Armenian Velvet Revolution
• 2019 Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests
• Citizenship Amendment Act protests
Protest in Nigeria gets worse day by day and truth be told, it seems it’s better to stay at home or continue with your usual business rather than be gunned down by a trigger loving police.
Remember Occupy Nigeria and its casualties?
Now let’s come back to what’s happening in Sagamu, Ogun state Nigeria where angry young men and women took to the streets to protest the killing of a footballer named Tiyamiyu Kazeem by operatives of Special Anti-Robbery Squad. Kazeem was said to have been pushed from a SARS van on motion and onto a speeding car that eventually killed him on Saturday after officers of the agency wrongly accused him of being an Internet fraudster (Yahoo boy).
Another story by punch newspaper reports that the late footballer, who was popularly known as Kaka, died while trying to escape after his arrest. He was hit by a vehicle when he attempted to cross the highway.
According to The state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, the footballer was arrested for wearing a military cap and not on suspicion of internet fraud. “A police inspector attached to Zonal Intervention Squad, Obada-Oko, in Abeokuta, was said to have received information about the deceased that he was always putting on military apparels knowing fully well that he was not military personnel.
“Based on the information, the inspector went to Sagamu and saw the deceased putting on a military cap, consequent upon which he got him arrested. On the way to Abeokuta, the vehicle they were travelling in developed a mechanical fault and while the officer was trying to rectify the fault, the arrested person jumped down from the vehicle to escape. In his bid to run across the road, a vehicle which was speeding knocked him down and he died on the spot,” he said.
He further pointed out that the operative, who arrested the deceased, was an inspector attached to the Zonal Intervention Squad, Obada, and not a SARS operative.
Now angered by his death, youths marched round Sagamu on Monday to register their frustration. In the process, three persons were hit by live bullets fired by policemen to disperse the crowd. In retaliation, the young men and women pelted the law enforcement officials with stones.
Five persons, including two policemen, were feared killed after hundreds of protesters including women and children flooded streets in Sagamu, Ogun State to register their anger over the death of footballer Kazeem Tiamiyu.
How are we safe as citizens of this great nation?
Do we give up on the idea of protest?
Do we stop holding government officials accountable?