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Azerbaijan: Thousands Rally Calling For President's Resignation

Baku, 4 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Several thousand opposition supporters today marched through the Azerbaijani capital of Baku, demanding the resignation of President Heidar Aliev. Demonstrators from six opposition parties called for Aliyev to resign and to also hold early elections, saying the president is too ill to carry out his official duties.

The rally comes a day after Aliyev was flown to a military clinic in Turkey for a series of tests on his heart. Aliyev has history of ill health. Two weeks ago he collapsed during an event that was being broadcast on national television. Officials said his collapse was caused by a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Aliev's administration says the president is in good health and will return to Azerbaijan in a few days. Aliyev has said he will run in the upcoming presidential election.