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OSCE Presses Azerbaijan On Democracy After Arrests


Youth activists are corraled by police in Baku on March 11, when Facebook activists called for "Great People's Day."

Youth activists are corraled by police in Baku on March 11, when Facebook activists called for "Great People's Day."

The chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Europe's main security and democracy organization, has told Azerbaijan to respect free assembly after police broke up peaceful protests last week and arrested dozens of people.

OSCE Chairman Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Azubalis, said he reminded Azerbaijani leaders of their commitment to democracy in meetings in Baku this week.

Azubalis was speaking at a news conference in neighboring Georgia.

Azerbaijan's government on March 11 stopped demonstrators from gathering after young activists inspired by popular uprisings in the Middle East used social media to call for street protests.

Dozens of people were arrested. At least 30 people have been sentenced to up to eight days in prison on charges of violating public order and defying police.

compiled from Reuters reports
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