The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders

Azerbaijan: Opposition Activists Clash with the Police in Center of Baku
According to the preliminary information, more than 50 opposition activists have been detained in the process of unsanctioned action in the capital of Azerbaijan. The protest rally grew in the clash with the law-enforcement bodies.

As the Caucasian Knot informs, in the morning of April 2nd, the police surrounded the entrances to the central roads of Baku as it prepared for the unsanctioned protest rally of the opposition which was planned to be held by the supporters of the civil movement for democracy Public Chamber at the area of fountains. Before the protest rally started, the detainment of 10 opposition activists had already been carried out.

Several oppositioners who still managed to get to the area of the fountains were also detained. Among the detainees are the former deputy Panakh Gusein, the deputy head of National Front of Azerbaijan.

The opposition activists still managed to hold local actions in other parts of the city. Most long-lasting was the action at the Metro Station Sakhil. In the beginning the police managed to push the young people to the side of boulevard. However, after gathering there they headed back to the side of the street Niza in Baku.

As the main forces of the regiment of operative forces was operating in the area of fountains, the patrol police could not manage to stop the youth. On the road, they stopped the bus where the activists detained earlier were sitting and freed some of them.

Eventually approximately 300-400 individuals have formed a column. They came out to the trade place, headed to the side of Rashid Bekhbudov St, went up to the side of the central bank and turned to the side of the railway station. On the way, the demonstrators chanted “For Freedom,” “Resignation for Ilkham” and carried the flag of Azerbaijan.

In the area of the railway station the operative forces started arresting the young people. About 15 individuals were detained. The police used batons.
However, the activists proceeded at the avenue of Azadlig and were stopped near the US embassy. In this way, the demonstrators managed to walk about 1.5-2 km at the central road of Baku and draw attention to their protest rally. While proceeding, the transport movement was halted. Some drivers expressed solidarity by horns.

Approximately at 16:00 separate groups of opposition activists held local actions in different parts of the town and chanted anti-government slogans. However, the law-enforcement forces dispersed the participants.

The law-enforcement bodies restricted the work of journalists and pushed them to the sides. The police motivated their action as “care for the safety of journalists.” The people who were video recording the action were pushed aside or were hindered. Several journalists started expressed their concern. The deputy chief of Baku police, general-major Iashar Aliev said that he was ordered to keep journalists in one spot. Aliev ordered “to take away unsatisfied journalists.”

Source: Caucasian Knot

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