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Azerbaijan: Police Clash With Demonstrators In Baku

Baku, 27 May 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Violent clashes between police and about 100 opposition demonstrators were reported outside the Azerbaijani parliament building in Baku today. Iskhag Avazoglu of the reformist wing of the divided Azerbaijan Popular Front Party that organized the unsanctioned protest said 30 party members were arrested during the clashes.

The demonstrators said they were protesting against what they said were insulting words allegedly aimed at party leader Ali Kerimli by ruling and pro-government deputies during a session of parliament last week. Kerimli has gained a reputation as a vocal critic of Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev and his government.

The reformist wing of the Azerbaijan Popular Front Party applied last week for permission to hold today's demonstration and were refused by the city administration.