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Azerbaijan: Police, Demonstrators Clash In Baku

Baku, 23 March (RFE/RL) -- Police clashed with protestors from more than 25 opposition parties demonstrating against President Heidar Aliyev today in the capital Baku. A crowd of some 1,500 demonstrators gathered in a main square without official government permission. Authorities had tried to move the rally to a remote part of the city, but demonstrators rejected the offer.

Protestors waved signs demanding the resignation of Aliyev and the immediate preparation for democratic elections.

Yashar Aliev, the chief of the city's police force, said 35 demonstrators were detained during the clashes. Officials said they did not know how many demonstrators were hurt, but Reuters earlier today reported about 20 protestors were injured.

Reports said about 15 police officers also were injured in the clashes.