Armed police officers have virulently dispersed the protesting members of the Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement of Nigeria, otherwise known as Shi'ites, who staged a protest in Abuja to demand the release of the leader.

The peaceful protest, which kicked off from Wuse Market, was disrupted at the popular Berger Roundabout when they were confronted by policemen, who shot several canisters of teargas.

This forced the protesters to scamper to safety in different directions.

The situation led to unrest in the area as passersby ran to avoid being caught up in the melee. Motorists were also forced to take alternative routes in the process.

Meanwhile, SaharaReporters could not ascertain as of the time of this report if any of the protesters was arrested during the encounter.

The Secretary of the Academic Forum of the Movement, Abdullahi Musa, also confirmed the attack on their members, adding that the movement would not stop to demand the release of their leader who has been incarcerated since December 2015.

He described the attempt by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led regime to criminalise peaceful protest as undemocratic and draconian.

He said, "They only show their bravery on innocent and unarmed citizens that are exercising their constitutional rights. And it's high time this shameless and incompetent government and its accomplices understood that no amount of killings or jailing would stop us from protesting. The only thing that will stop us is when they obey the December 2016 Federal high Court order and free our leader and his wife unconditionally."

The IMN leader and his wife, Zeenat, are standing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of the public peace, among other charges.
 

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