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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 October 2020

Solidarity with the movement in Nigeria

Protesting against SARS October 2020, photo DSM

Protesting against SARS October 2020, photo DSM   (Click to enlarge)

Birmingham

The organisers of the Birmingham protest against Nigeria's notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) police units emphasised that the event was peaceful, with no "attacks on anybody's character". However, when the mic was opened, the anger burst out.

One after another, Nigerian workers vented their rage at the brutality of the Nigerian state. The crowd of 200 demanded the violent and militarised Sars police unit be disbanded, and loudly sang 'Solidarity Forever'.

I spoke to deliver a message of solidarity on behalf of the Socialist Party, warmly welcomed by the crowd. I said it was a disgrace that the Nigeria government is failing to provide the very basics of life for the majority, given the immense natural resources and human talent posessed by Nigeria.

A spontaneous chant of "Buhari out" began after I demanded the resignation of President Mohammadu Buhari.

Ted Woodley

Leeds

"We've started this, and there's no going back", remarked one speaker at the 24 October protest.

60 joined the protest, organised by the Nigerian Student Society at Leeds University. There were placards against police violence, to dismantle Sars and Swat police units, and against Buhari.

There was huge anger at the police massacre at Lekki bridge, and Buhari's attempts to deny the incident ever happened. The anger extended far beyond this particular issue, which is the straw that broke the camel's back.

We reproduced the text of a leaflet distributed by our sister party - Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) - on the streets of Nigeria.

One of the rally speakers read out the demands being raised by the Youth Rights Campaign - launched by DSM - giving their own explanation as to why each one was vital.

Iain Dalton

Northampton

Over 100 people turned up to the Northampton demo on 24 October.

One of the organisers took some of the Socialist Party leaflets and handed them out to the other organisers. The organisers called for the police killings to end, and to bring down the Buhari government.

When people saw what we had to say, they were coming over asking for our leaflets. The 100 leaflets we printed ran out. Even when we ran out, demonstrators came looking for more.

After we mentioned that there was an article about Nigeria in our paper, the Socialist, ten people bought a copy. And we've already contacted the six people we met interested in joining the Socialist Party.

Seamus Smyth

London - Protesters detail murderous corruption

The fury was palpable at the protest in central London on 21 October.

One protester told me she had lost three sisters in Nigeria, citing police banditry and unsafe roads. She sent her nephew an iPhone when he got into university. But this resulted in a high-speed chase by Sars officers - down broken, unmaintained roads - to steal it.

Many police officers outside the brutal Sars/Swat force endure appalling conditions. Another protester told me that Nigerian police can sleep in one-room accommodation with families of five.

There is a barely functioning electric grid, and police stations can't even afford petrol for their generators all of the time. Members of the public wishing to give statements have to buy their own pens and paper.

James Ivens

London - five protests in a week

Protesters in London on 23 October blamed the rich in Nigeria and elsewhere for Nigeria's poverty and lack of basic services. One protester said: "Imagine having to fight for your life from birth."

Despite the Covid risk, the police wanted us to be tightly packed together on the pavement. But the protest spread out onto the street in front of the Nigerian High Commission, then marched to Downing Street.

Another protester, Naomi, said: "It's time for them to give power to the people."

Naomi was also angry about free school meals (see front page) and organised a protest on that issue. "Children deserve to eat, but the government does not care. Boris is prioritising his friends and himself."

Ian Pattison

Liverpool

Many of the 100 in attendance had family or friends in Lagos, where protestors peacefully sitting and singing the national anthem were butchered.

Neill Dunne

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 28 October 2020:


What we think

Tories' school meals outrage


Coronavirus News

Don't let Tories starve our kids

Tory 'Starve a Kid to Save a Quid' scheme

Boots launches £120, 12-minute Covid test

Under the microscope


Workplace News

Backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

Royal Mail: No more behind closed doors talks

Fight Leeds Labour council's massive cuts

Workplace news in brief


News

NHS England's £1bn winter shortfall: we need union action, not platitudes!

BAME Covid deaths due to capitalist inequality, confirms government

Mayor and government compete to attack London transport: fight for no cuts!

Grenfell watch: landlord's £800,000 saving


Food Standards

Food and a capitalist Brexit: No trust in Tory Deals!


International News

Nigeria protests shake regime

"We need a leadership that comes from the movement"

Bolivia elections: Crushing defeat for the right as MAS secures landslide victory

US presidential election


Campaigns

Online youth rally says: We won't pay with our futures

Birmingham: 'Refund our fees' protests

Solidarity with the movement in Nigeria

Evicted students can fight back and win

Waltham Forest Save Our Square:

Why I joined the Socialist Party - "I'm 15, and already I've lived through two global recessions and a pandemic"

Bristol jobs protest: We want 100% pay


Readers' Opinion

One rule for them, and another for us

Books that inspired me: Germinal

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Nigeria:

triangleNigeria: Abbey Trotsky on trial for assisting workers' struggle

triangleNigeria: Eyewitness report by arrested Democratic Socialist Movement organiser

triangleLeeds protesters demand "Buhari must go!"

triangle"We need a leadership that comes from the movement"

triangleNigeria protests shake regime

Solidarity:

triangleA history of International Women's Day

triangleSolidarity meeting with Mohamud Hassan

triangleProtests in solidarity with Indian farmers

triangle

Solidarity with Brighton UCU strike - we won't pay for Covid crisis

Police:

triangle1981: New Cross Massacre

triangleSwansea BLM protest against racist police brutality

triangleJustice for Moyied Bashir

Protest:

triangleTories target universities in free speech shakedown

triangleTurkey: Bogaziçi university students protest appointment of government loyalist as rector

Socialist:

triangleUnion fight to save musicians' livelihoods

Democratic Socialist Movement:

triangleMembers of Democratic Socialist Movement in Nigeria (a sister organisation of the Socialist Party in England/Wales) on the streets in Abuja during the current protests

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