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Activists Detained In Baku Ahead Of Opposition Rally

BAKU -- Several youth and opposition activists have been detained in Azerbaijan ahead of an antigovernment rally planned for April 2, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Those detained today on their way to school or work include members of the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP), the Azerbaijan Democratic Party (ADP), and the Classical Azerbaijan Popular Front Party.

Three activists were given administrative sentences ranging from five to 10 days for violating public order or "resisting police." Three activists were questioned by police, warned, and released.

Faiq Amirov, an assistant to APFP leader Ali Karimli, told RFE/RL that one of the party members, Nemat Aliyev, was detained "for violating public order."

The umbrella opposition organization, the Public Chamber -- which includes major parties and NGOs -- applied to Baku City Council to hold a rally on April 2 in downtown Baku. However, the city authorities told organizers they should hold the rally in Baku's outskirts.

Tofiq Yaqublu, deputy head of the opposition Musavat party, which is included in the Public Chamber, told RFE/RL they planned to stage their protest in the city center despite being refused permission.

Dozens of people were detained earlier this month after opposition activists turned out for two antigovernment protests on March 11 and 12.