As protests surge through Nigeria in response to police brutality, one enclave of protestors has turned to bitcoin as a financial lifeline during turbulent times.
The Feminist Coalition’s bank account was shuttered this month after its involvement in the End SARS protests came to light, according to a person familiar but unaffiliated with the group who asked to be identified as Emma (a pseudonym). End SARS is a movement in Nigeria to abolish the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a subdivision of the police force with a track record of abusing and harassing citizens.
Cast out of the traditional system, the Feminist Coalition is now raising donations in bitcoin.
The #EndSARS protests
The Feminist Coalition was founded in July with a mission to “champion equality for women in Nigerian society with core focuses of education, financial freedom, and representation in public office.”
With the outbreak of protests against police brutality this month, the group has concentrated on providing medical care, legal aid and even funeral funding for those participating in the peaceful demonstrations.
Since the protests surfaced in the beginning of October, 10 Nigerians have died at the hands of police, according to CNN.
As of Oct. 16, the Feminist Coalition has collected a total of 69,891,637.15 naira (a couple bucks shy of $185,000), 15,443,280.00 of which ($40,000) has been deployed to aid 128 protests across the country, according to the coalition’s website.
Bitcoin and censorship-resistant fundraising
All of this fundraising attracted the attention of authorities, though, and they were shut out of Flutterwave, the payments platform and something of a virtual bank they used to process donations. (At press time, Flutterwave had not returned CoinDesk’s request for comment).
That’s when they turned to alternatives.
“Quite a few members of the group work in tech,” so they made the decision…