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Azerbaijanis Protest Power Shortages, Unemployment


Nardaran has a history of antigovernment protests

Nardaran has a history of antigovernment protests

BAKU -- Some 200 people congregated in the village of Nardaran outside of the Azerbaijani capital of Baku to protest unemployment and power shortages, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Protester Natiq Karimov called on the authorities at the demonstration on February 25 to hold talks with the villagers on ways to resolve their problems. They said they will stage further protests if the authorities fail to respond.

Demonstrators also expressed support for the government's anticorruption campaign, but said it should be more stringent.

The some 8,000 residents of Nardaran, a community about 25 kilometers northeast of Baku, are considered among the most fervent Muslims in Azerbaijan. They have protested deteriorating social conditions repeatedly over the past decade, most recently on February 16.

Meanwhile, about 100 people staged a similar protest on February 25 in the central Sabirabad district against frequent electricity outages and increased utility tariffs.

Local energy officials told RFE/RL they have launched a campaign to collect outstanding debts for electricity within the next month. "The electricity supply to households will be stopped after the deadline passes. We have already cut electricity to two or three consumers who were warned a month ago to pay their debts," they said.

Police did not interfere with the protests.

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