The world is still reeling in shock from pro-Trump supporters invading the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, and disrupting the counting of electoral votes that will confirm the win of president-elect Joe Biden. Much of the criticism on the invasion, which has left four people dead, has revolved around the stark differences in how the police has approached these fascist riots and the #BlackLivesMatter protests back in June, 2020.
In the latter, the police swung in full force, utilising inhumane crowd control tactics against Black Protesters – tear gas, rubber bullets, water canons etc. Suddenly, the Capitol police are understaffed and overwhelmed to deal with the disgruntled white mob that invaded Congress halls, ransacked offices, all in an effort to derail a democratic transition.
Nigerians, fresh from the #ENDSARS protests that erupted in October last year, are no stranger to the full spectrum of police mistreatment as they pushed for police reforms. The recurring theme is how the police is anti-Black and anti-poor, deployed to sustain white supremacy, protect private property, and keep oppressive regimes in power.
During the peak of the #ENDSARS protests, peaceful protesters faced heightened harassment and violent intimidation, not forgotten the Lekki Massacre that left many protesters injured and dead. From both cases, it’s increasingly clear that the police is fulfilling what it was created for, and this is what we must reckon as we push for liberation.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies, anime and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.