There was panic among Abuja residents as police officers on Tuesday dispersed suspected Shiites protesters in the Federal Capital Territory.
Members of the Islamic movement had assembled at Wuse area in Abuja and were processing towards the Berger junction area when they were intercepted by the police and dispersed.
They reportedly managed to regroup at the Berger junction, where police swooped down on them, firing water cannon and teargas forcing the protesters to disperse.
Residents, however, said the police vehicles were seen chasing the protesters who in turn hurled stones and other objects at them.
Tuesday’s incident follows the arrest of 115 Shiites on Monday after police and Shiite protesters clashed near Unity Park and Transcorp Hilton Hotel on Monday.
The Police said order has since been restored to parts of Maitama, following the violent protest on Monday.
The Islamic movement has been agitating for the release of their leader Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky who has been in detention since December 2016.
‘We Want To Defy Dictatorship’
The protesters in Abuja continued their protest at the nation’s capital on Tuesday claiming that they want to defy dictatorship.
“We’ve come under serious attack today,” said Deji Adeyanju of Concerned Nigerians, a civil society group involved in the demonstration.
“The more they attack the more (we) come out,” Deji said. “We want to defy tyranny and a dictatorship.”
The police did not immediately comment.
Zakzaky, head of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), has been in government custody since troops clashed with his followers in the northern city of Zaria in December 2015 despite court orders that he should be freed.
More than 350 IMN followers were killed in the 2015 clashes. Zakzaky was shot and injured leaving him partly paralysed and blind in one eye.
The Shiite leader has repeatedly been imprisoned for alleged incitement and subversion.
IMN has been in conflict with the Nigerian government for years, seeking to foment an Iranian-style Islamic revolution in the country’s Sunni Muslim-majority north.
Zakzaky’s followers on Monday had clashed with the police in Abuja’s Maitama area and police made at least 115 arrests.