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Azerbaijan: Crowd At Service Turns Angrily On Aliev

Baku, 23 August 2000 (RFE/RL) - A funeral service today for former Azerbaijani President Abulfaz Elchibey was transformed into one of Baku's largest opposition gatherings in years when the crowd turned angrily on President Heidar Aliev. RFE/RL in Baku reports that more than 10,000 people at the service started chanting against Aliyev when he entered the building to pay his respects. He quickly left the building and faced further taunts from a crowd of more than 50, 000 outside. Our correspondent says Aliev's security guards had to hold back the crowd to enable Aliyev to leave.

Elchibey died yesterday in Turkey of prostate cancer. He played a key role as president in 1992 after Azerbaijan became independent, but was overthrown in a military coup that led to Aliev's coming to power.