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OSCE Deeply Concerned Over Police Action In Baku

Police dispersing protesters in Baku on 26 November (AFP) 28 November 2005 -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) today expressed "deep concern" over police violence against opposition supporters protesting the results of Azerbaijan's parliamentary elections earlier this month.

Maurizio Pavesi, the head of the OSCE office in Baku, said in a statement posted on the organization's website today that the police violence "started without any warning" and could not be justified with any need to defend public order.

On 26 November, police used truncheons, tear gas, and water cannon to disperse thousands of demonstrators protesting official election results, which gave a landslide victory to President Ilham Aliyev's party.

The OSCE statement cites reports according to which "over 400 demonstrators and several journalists were injured, while 30 people were detained" during the police action.

At the same time, Pavesi also called on the opposition to "refrain from actions that are only conducive to creating further tension."

(with additional reporting by AFP)

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