#BuhariMustGo say protesters in Leeds

For the second weekend in a row, protesters gathered in Leeds in solidarity with the #EndSARS protests in Nigeria. Organised by the Nigerian Student Society at Leeds University and Black Lives Matter Leeds, at least 80 attended despite the poor weather.

Leeds Socialist Party members

The Socialist Party’s leaflets, reproducing the leaflet given out by the Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) in Nigeria, were snapped up by almost everyone attending the protest, with many people who attended the protest on the basis of showing solidarity with victims of police brutality, and keen to learn more about the wider context of the EndSARS movement, also reflected in sales of the Socialist newspaper on the protest.

Leeds Socialist Students banner at #EndSARS protest – photo Iain Dalton

As well as ‘#EndSARS’ placards being carried by many on the protest – other slogans included ‘Bobo has been a bad boy’ and ‘Nigeria is a country with everything, but has nothing’ referring to the rife corruption amongst the ruling elite of the country, including Muhammadu Buhari [Bobo] the president, and previous military ruler.

Esther, Vice-President the Nigerian Student Society told us “Buhari and his government should just step down… those who’ve taken part in the protest in Nigeria have started something much bigger.” Precious, who had travelled to the protest from York, explained to protesters how successive government’s have looted the countries resources, leading several chants of ‘Buhari Must Go’.

Marvina, from Black Lives Matter Leeds, who compared the rally, made the important point that, whilst that as well as tackling the immediate issues of police brutality raised by the #EndSARS movement, its also important to tackle the roots of these issues, including the legacy of British imperialism’s rule of Nigeria and the broken “system” bequeathed on the country.

Some of the homemade placards on the demonstration – photo Iain Dalton

Iain Dalton, Socialist Students Yorkshire Organiser, added to this, explaining how the capitalist system, is based on systematic exploitation of working class people around the world to produce profits for those at the top of society and relies on the forces of the state like the police to protect that. He called for the resources of society to be brought into public ownership, and democratically controlled, so they can be planned to meet the needs of ordinary people.

A number of other speakers, overwhelmingly from a Nigerian background spoke and added to the discussion about how the #EndSARS movement could move forward, and despite different emphases, all agreed that it was vital that the young people involved should not be allowed to die in vain, despite the curfew the Nigerian government has now imposed to try to stop the movement.

The Socialist Party is keen to continue the discussion about how we can replace the rotten system of capitalism in Nigeria dominated by corrupt figures like Buhari and others, to have a society that, as many speakers at the rally called for, “truly unleashes the potential of the Nigerian people”. In our opinion, that would be a socialist society.

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