A big shout-out to everybody who has lent one hand or the other in contributing to the EndSARS movement — either through protests, or online. Just today, the President of Nigeria, after a long, unexpected silence, finally dissolved the Special Anti-Robbery Squad during a press conference addressed to Nigerians.
While it is wonderful to see that our voices are being heard, and actions are taken, our fight is far from over. Reports are all over that people are still being brutalised by the same agencies that are supposed to protect us, so we must continue. Yes! Continue we must, until the government takes the necessary action to end police brutality.
So, if you’re currently protesting or intending to join a protest, here are 7 things you must not do — for your own safety.
1. DO NOT Wear Dark Colours, Bandanas, or Any Form of Headgear.
Dark colours, while helping you to blend in; also screams, “I’m here to make trouble.” Besides, the last thing you want during a protest is to be mistaken for another person. So, be on the safer side —prioritize distinct and clear coloured dresses over their mundane counterparts.
Also, bandanas could mistake you as being a gang member — or be used to strangle you. Discard clothing that obscures your face. Lastly, when you wear headgear, you’re an obvious target for anyone itching to break bottles. May we not be unfortunate.
2. DO NOT Bring Bags or ANYTHING That Could Be Considered Weapons.
If things get bad and the police sight you with an overly large bag, you will look suspicious and they will probably arrest you. Also, you’ll be walking or standing for hours on end, why make things uncomfortable for you by carrying something heavy?
Plus, you want to be able to make a quick getaway if things get dangerous during the protest.
3. DO NOT Antagonize Anyone By Getting In His or Her Face.
Everybody’s blood dey boil. You‘re not there to pick a fight — you’re there to make a change. So, unless you want to be punched, beat up or arrested, don’t antagonize or annoy anyone. Brawls and fights give the police a legit reason to break up the protests. Nobody needs that! Just do your thing; make your stand, and hope for the best.
4. DO NOT Have Your Nose Buried In Your Phone.
For Christ sakes, you’re at a protest, not in your living room; you should be paying attention to what’s happening around you. Anyone can come up to hit you with a bottle, or even steal your phone right under you and you won’t notice. In fact, I would have suggested not bringing your phone, but we at home need updates!
Just make sure you stay focused; jazz up and don’t lose guard.
5. DO NOT Bring Any Kind of Hard Plastic or Glass.
They can be used as weapons. Either you are going to be hurt or someone else will. Stay clear of alcohol: you’re in a tension-filled environment. The best alcohol will do is impair your judgement and kill your focus.
Besides, you don’t want to be caught carrying such stuff around.
6. DO NOT Isolate Yourself from the Group.
Stay with the group of protesters. If you need to get something, go with a group of friends. It might be a cliché, but there is truly safety in numbers. Wandering too far off will expose you to the random, baseless arrests and the police brutality you’re protesting against!
7. DO NOT Destroy Property.
Finally, destroying government property is illegal and you will probably be caught and go to jail. You only have the right to peaceful assembly (Lawyers in the house, am I right?) By going on an unproved destructive damage, the law does not cover you. In addition, you undermine the purpose of the protest. Keep it peaceful, and if you can, prevent others from destroying state property.
To quote the words of pulsenigeria: jazz up, stay focused, stay vigilant, and watch out for any and all signs of impending danger and threats to life from — you guessed right — the Nigerian Police.
Do share this post to anyone that needs it, which is literally everyone!