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Azerbaijani Opposition Party Postpones Rally After Refusal


Demonstrations are only allowed in certain remote areas in Baku.

Demonstrations are only allowed in certain remote areas in Baku.

BAKU -- An Azerbaijani opposition party has postponed a protest after Baku authorities rejected a formal request to stage a protest outside city hall, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Musavat Party spokesman Mehman Cavadoglu told RFE/RL on April 5 that the city's refusal caused his party to postpone the demonstration -- which is against the restrictions Baku has placed on protests -- until April 14.

In 2008, the Baku authorities designated several locations on the city outskirts as permissible venues for mass gatherings. Opposition parties have rejected them as too inaccessible.

The Musavat Party wants to protest against such restrictions on public gatherings in the capital.

But a request in mid-March to Baku Mayor Hacibala Abutalibov that the list of permitted venues be expanded was rejected, despite the fact that the only legal restriction on holding pickets and protests is that they not be held within 200 meters of government offices.

Zaur Ramazanov of the Baku city council told RFE/RL the opposition should gather at the officially permitted venues.

He pointed out that the ruling Yeni Azerbaycan Party made use of those venues during the 2008 presidential election campaign.
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