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Azerbaijanis Protest Over Energy Shortages


Protesters gather in the village of Nardaran near Baku to demand better gas supply.

Protesters gather in the village of Nardaran near Baku to demand better gas supply.

BAKU -- Hundreds of people in the Nardaran village near the Azerbaijani capital of Baku have rallied to protest a lack of gas and electricity, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Some of the demonstrators who rallied in Imam Huseyn Square in the center of Nardaran told RFE/RL that despite government assurances that the energy infrastructure in the area had been upgraded, the supply of gas and electricity to the community had not increased.

Azerbaijan is a major exporter of energy resources.

Protesters added that they were closely watching the self-proclaimed efforts of President Ilham Aliyev to combat widespread corruption in Azerbaijan to monitor any improvements.

In recent weeks Aliyev has called on Azerbaijanis to report instances of corruption by state workers and has reportedly fired many government officials for allegedly being involved in graft.

Some demonstrators also talked about disappointment in what they called "false elections" that have been held in the country in recent years.

They said if their demands are not met rallies will be held every Friday.

The residents of Nardaran, a community of some 8,000 people about 25 kilometers northeast of Baku, are considered among the most fervent Muslims in Azerbaijan.
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