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Azerbaijani Police Detain Dozens Of Opposition Protesters

Baku Police Detain Opposition Protestersi
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May 24, 2012
Police in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, scuffled on May 24 with opposition demonstrators who were calling for greater media freedom. Some 30 demonstrators attempted to gather outside Baku's public television center, but police quickly detained most of them. (RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service)

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By RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service
BAKU -- Police in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, have scuffled with opposition demonstrators who staged a protest calling for greater media freedom.

The opposition has pledged to stage demonstrations this week as Baku hosts the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest in an effort to draw international attention to alleged human rights abuses.

Some 30 demonstrators attempted to gather outside Baku's public television center, but police quickly rounded them up and forced most of them into waiting cars.

All the detainees were released later in the day, with eight of them being fined for disturbing public order.

Demonstrators were holding signs calling for public television to give airtime to the political opposition.

"[The authorities] think their actions will have no response," said Arife Huseynli, an activist of the opposition Musavat party who was detained and released. "First of all, we want free elections. Let [President] Ilham Aliyev and parliament deputies be elected, but in a democratic way. Why do they occupy posts without elections?"

A spokesman for the opposition Public Chamber of Azerbaijan said two movement leaders -- Gulaga Aslanli and Tofiq Yaqublu -- were detained early in the morning by police, apparently to prevent them from taking part in the protest. They were later given small fines and released.

The deputy head of the Popular Front party, Gozel Bayramli, was also reportedly detained briefly and released.

The head of Azerbaijan Public Television, Ismayil Omerov, told RFE/RL that his station had never broken the law and that policies would not change as a result of the May 24 protest.

"Everybody has big wishes, but why stage a picket or a protest because of these wishes?" Omerov asked. "I know they want to make use of [international attention]. Until Azerbaijan became the winner of Eurovision, the international media had no news about the opposition's existence. Public television greatly helped the opposition in this context. Now they are agitating around this topic and putting forward claims to speak on public television."

According to Human Rights Watch, at least five journalists and two bloggers are in Azerbaijani jails because of their journalistic activity.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry announced that Anar Gerayli, a journalist for the website and an activist of the NIDA youth movement, was sentenced on May 23 to 10 days in jail for "gross violations of public rules."

Geryali disappeared on May 22 after last being seen handing out NIDA literature while wearing a shirt reading "Sing for democracy."
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Comment Sorting
by: Anonymous
May 24, 2012 19:23
the regime should evoke some questions...
for instance:
what will happen if the security personnel beat up, arrest and/or kill dozens, hundreds, thousands of peaceful demonstrators...?

...soon demonstrations may turn violent...
just look at's certainly not the perfect comparison. yet, probably more people will get involved...

thought it would be an unreasonable decision to stage the contest in Azerbaijan. the anti-Armenian stance really was very unfortunate!
eventually though, it seems the spot light on human rights violations is definitely much more monitored than without the event...the regime starts getting seems...

I'm not sure how many people do demonstrate...nevertheless, just watch the demonstrators...some for sure don't look like dangerous radicals...
why not let them voice their claims freely...anyway, the family of alieyev and friends almost possess everything in, what's the danger?
why not share some stuff than lose it all...? just remember ghadafi, hussein, mubarak, French revolution...
In Response

by: Super-Uber-Dancer-Arab from: Dance-&-love-cafe-Jordan
May 25, 2012 05:37
hah hah hah :) you must be the new guy ? :) Azerbaijanians are accustomed these "beatings", these are not new. The great President İlham Aliyew and his clan can do everything, because they are know what is good for their sheeps. İ gave and giving very many attention to people, do not go streets to protest. Because 99% of the protesters are İlham's secret police servicemen. İf you go, you will surely see an angry shepherd. What must Azeris do ? only wait, wait God send them a new dictator.

by: aqil from: zaman
May 25, 2012 06:06
After -"Eurovision-2012" song contest decisions was made some anti-Azerbaijani forces and organizations in the world began their anti Azerbaijan propaganda. Many of them are in the ranks of the Armenian organizations, and financed by these organizations were made.

by: ilkin from: Baku
May 25, 2012 09:56
You don't know anything about this regime and trying to punish them. That is stupid. Opposition )) They already been in a goverment and all what we got is lost lands and haos in country. I you tell to this people in who dosen;t like existing goverment to go back to 1990 and remember when they been looking for food and they been worred when suns and husbands been returned back from war died. when they been afraid to go out for walk. Now goverment gave this people secured peacefull place to live and they don't like it.
if they has different things in mind, if they want to change something ... who stoppes them ? they could be elected in parlament and tell what they want from there. But no... they say... Please Mr. Aliev give us your president chair and then we will change something.
All of them is a bastards who is getting money from Iran, Russia, Armenia and all other places who want Azerbaijan to be slaves of them. Our president is a kind person by the way. I would hang all of them. Because they are against of freedom of our nation.
About jurnalists who is in jail. Jurnalist is suppose to be a person who is givveng a true to the world. All what this guys been doing. is to blackmail people. So believe me goverment is very kind to them.

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