Hundreds of protesters comprising members of the Civil Society Organization and youths on Tuesday defied Rivers state government ban on public protest and carried out a peaceful protest in support of the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, SARS, in the country.
The state government had in a press statement issued Monday night by the state Commissioner of Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim directed that all forms of protests have been banned throughout the state.
“Therefore, there is no need for any form of protest against a Unit of the Police Force that no longer exists,” the statement said.
“Law enforcement agencies are also directed to ensure that the ban is enforced and that violators are brought to book,” stated Nsirim in the statement.
But the protesters defied the order and gathered at the Port Harcourt Pressure Park located at Port Harcourt – Aba road from where they took off .
The protesters who were armed with placards that bore several anti SARS inscriptions matched to Government House Port Harcourt and ended at the State House of Assembly where a letter demanding total ban on SARS were presented to the leadership of the Assembly.
Some of the protesters who spoke with correspondents said the state government had no right to ban peaceful protest.
One of the protesters, John Amagana said, “We have to defy government order to carry out the protest because Rivers state government has no right to stop peaceful protest. I have been a victim of SARS brutality and likewise many others so we demand that there should be an end to SARS in Nigeria.”
Another protester, whose name could not be identified said that the EndSARS protest has became necessary as to put to an end to police brutality.
A detachment of the mobile police had a hectic time controlling the protesters.