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The ART X Lagos fair has indefinitely postponed its planned opening on November 5 in solidarity with the #EndSARS protests against police brutality in Nigeria.
“We have watched with deep sadness the heartbreaking events of the past week, beginning with the violence against protesters in Lagos and across other parts of the country,” the art fair said in a statement on its social media platforms yesterday, October 27.
In the past three weeks, thousands of Nigerians have protested against a federal police unit called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The department, originally created with the stated purpose of protecting civilians from armed robbery, is accused of brutality and abuse of power, including allegations of illegal arrests, executions, torture, and extortion.
Last week, Amnesty International reported that the Nigerian military opened fire on thousands of peaceful protesters in Lagos on October 20, killing 12 and injuring hundreds. According to Amnesty, at least 56 people have been killed across the country since the #EndSARS protests broke out on October 8.
Photographers! Are you at the frontline of the #EndSARS protests? We want to support your important work. Send us a DM for more information.
— ART X Lagos (@artxlagos) October 16, 2020
On October 16, Art X Lagos posted a call on social media urging photographers on the frontlines of the protests to apply for financial assistance. Selected works will be exhibited at the upcoming fair.
Meanwhile, a group of Nigerian ex-pats called “Diasporans Against SARS” has launched a GoFundMe page to support victims of police brutality in the country. The campaign has so far raised over $102,000. The group says that the funds will be distributed to verified and vetted grassroots organizations like LifeBank, Feminist Co, MedSaf, Kokun Foundation, and others.
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