(Washington D.C.) — Today Rep. Al Green (D-TX) introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives supporting peaceful protests in Nigeria and condemning the violence targeted toward #EndSARS demonstrators in recent weeks. PEN America applauds Rep. Green for his ongoing efforts to defend freedom of assembly and expression in Nigeria, and hopes that the resolution will be the first of many steps in Congress in pursuing accountability for those who attempted to silence the voices of peaceful protesters and activists in the country. 

“Rep. Green’s resolution shines a powerful light on the decline of free expression in Nigeria while recommitting the United States to upholding the right to assembly as a cornerstone of democratic societies,” said Thomas O. Melia, Washington director at PEN America. “October’s violence against protestors in Lagos and the subsequent threat of a nationwide internet shutdown constitute low points in the Nigerian government’s crackdown on speech and dissent. It is critical that the United States speak out against these injustices and hold the Nigerian government to account.”

The #EndSARS campaign, a years-long movement which gained steam in recent months, has been made up of peaceful, youth-led protests calling for the disbanding of the Nigerian Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), an infamously brutal agency. 

Read more about PEN America’s research into the criminalization of protest in the U.S.