Alwaght- Nigerian police attacked peaceful demonstrators who had rallied to commemorate the International Quds Day in solidarity with oppressed Palestinians who are suffering under decades-long Israeli occupation.
Hundreds of people took to the streets of Kaduna metropolis in central Nigeria on last Friday of holy month of Ramadan, chanting slogans in support of the Palestinian cause and condemnation of the Israeli regime. They also carried signs and banners reading “Free Palestine” and “Free Zakzaky.”
Nigeria’s top Muslim cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky, the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), has been in detention since late 2015.
Hours before the commencement of the rally in Kaduna, a large contingent of the riot police, in full gear, had been stationed along the main streets, Ibrahim Mousa, the head of media forum of the IMN, said in a statement on Friday.
He added that police started to open fire at demonstrators without prior warning soon after the rally began, targeting the march with tear gas canisters and live ammunition. They also mounted road blocks and emergency checkpoints in the streets, diverting traffic away from the central area.
“As at the time of filing this, it is not clear how many people were injured or arrested as the police action has led to severe traffic gridlock inconveniencing road users,” Mousa said.
The IMN official, however, added that other rallies marking the International Quds Day were held across the African country without police intervention, holding responsible the governor of Kaduna for “the unnecessary violence” inflicted upon peaceful marchers in the city.
The International Quds Day is a legacy of the late founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Imam Khomeini, who designated the day in solidarity with the Palestinians.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, the International Quds Day has been marked worldwide on the last Friday of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
The rallies marking the day were held in many cities across the globe, including those of Iran, on Friday.