Baku, 18 September 1998 (RFE/RL) - Baku city authorities gave official permission today to opposition parties in Azerbaijan to hold street rallies in the capital this Sunday -- one week after similar demonstrations were broken up by police force.
Our correspondent in Baku says President Heydar Aliyev's Yeni Azerbaijan party is also scheduled to hold a rally in Baku -- one day before the opposition
rallies are scheduled. The opposition is trying to force the government to
introduce changes to the election process, prior to next month's presidential
elections in Azerbaijan.
Anne Johnson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, told RFE/RL
yesterday that the United States condemns the use of force against peaceful
demonstrators. Johnson urged both sides to refrain from violence during the
Earlier this week, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright expressed the U.S.
concern at the Azerbaijani police's forceful breakup of the opposition
demonstration last weekend. Several people were injured in the clashes and
scores more detained. The government has said it was provoked by the
demonstrators and therefore justified in breaking up the rally.