Thousands of opposition supporters in Azerbaijan have attended an antigovernment rally in the capital, Baku, demanding the resignation of President Ilham Aliyev and an end to the repression of human rights defenders and civic activists.
Demonstrators also demanded closer integration between Baku and the European Union and the release of political prisoners.
The event on October 12 was organized by the National Council of Democratic Forces, a pro-democracy movement of Azerbaijan’s united opposition.
The rally was permitted by municipal authorities on condition that it was held at a stadium in a remote part of Baku.
Although the event was peaceful, organizers faced what they called “clear provocations from the authorities in order to discredit the opposition.”
RFE/RL’s Azerbaijani Service reports that several people tried to raise the black flag of Islamic State militants at the event, prompting rally organizers to ask police to remove those individuals from the area.
Although police detained them, one man with an IS banner was spotted later walking freely in the area.