WATCH: Authorities in Azerbaijan remove the statue of ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak from "Azerbaijan-Egyptian Friendship Park" near the capital, Baku, on June 7 and replace it with a seemingly generic "Egyptian" figure. (Video by RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service)
Authorities in Azerbaijan have heeded opposition calls to dismantle a statue of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Wary of any association with Mubarak's disgraced regime, authorities ordered the statue removed late on June 7 from its spot in Khyrdalan, a small town just outside the capital, Baku.
The four-year-old statue -- one of the rare tributes to Mubarak outside Egypt -- was replaced by a rather crude depiction of a cross-legged Egyptian scribe.
A school in Khyrdalan named after Mubarak's wife Suzanna was also re-dubbed "Egyptian school."
Whether President Ilham Aliyev has anything to do with the town's "de-Mubarakization" remains unclear. A local official, Fikrat Orujov, said only that the statue was dismantled to reflect the change of leadership in Egypt.
The statue had become somewhat of a liability in the wake of Egypt's pro-democracy revolt.
Just days before Mubarak was ousted in February, a group of Azerbaijani youth activists had gathered at the monument to voice their solidarity with Egyptian protesters. The activists, however, had quickly turned their fire on Aliyev's regime before being disbanded by police.
Police had since guarded both the statue and the school.
But Khyrdalan residents did not appear overly distressed upon finding their local Mubarak toppled from his pedestal.
"It's just a statue," an elderly man told RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service at the site. "There are thousands of statues in the world. Who cares about it? It doesn't really matter who this statue represents."
Many residents of Belgrade may share those feelings, as a statue of President Aliyev's father, Heydar, was scheduled to be unveiled in the Serbian capital today.
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