Beyoncé Joins Call to #EndSARS Following Pressure to Speak Out

Photo: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Beyoncé has used her voice to amplify protesters in Nigeria as they continue to call for the end of police violence at the hands of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS. “I am heartbroken to see the senseless brutality taking place in Nigeria,” the singer wrote in a text post on Instagram and on her 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. To our Nigerian sisters and brothers, we stand by you.” She also includes links to the Feminist Coalition, an organization founded for and by Nigerian women, and Connected Development, an NGO supporting local communities across Africa. Beyoncé’s statement came just hours after her publicist Yvette Noel-Schure responded to criticism of Beyoncé’s silence on her personal Instagram Story. “Actions speak louder than posts,” she wrote. “Stop judging.”

For the last month, protesters in Nigeria have been pushing for an end to police brutality, specifically accusing the SARS unit of kidnapping, extortion, and harassment. While the outcry initially called for the abolition of SARS, the protesters are continuing to seek justice for victims, following President Muhammadu Buhari’s announcement that he would disband the unit, which has become synonymous with police brutality in the county. Reports from protests on Tuesday suggested protesters were killed when soldiers opened fire. Several deaths have been reported and corroborated by Amnesty International, despite the Nigerian army dismissing the reports as “fake news.” Beyoncé joins a growing number of celebrities in support of the movement, including Nicki Minaj, Burna Boy, and Rihanna, who posted a photo of a blood-stained Nigerian flag along with a statement on Tuesday. “I can’t bear to see this torture and brutalisation that is continuing to affect nations across our planet,” she wrote on her Instagram Story. “It is such a betrayal to the citizens, the very people put in place to protect are the ones we are most afraid of being murdered by. My heart is broken for Nigeria. It is unbearable to watch.”

Beyoncé Joins Call to #EndSARS Amid Pressure to Speak Out