BAKU -- Police in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, have detained several protesters who had gathered for a second straight day of unauthorized demonstrations.
Some 50-60 people, mostly women, gathered in central Baku after police blocked the route of their planned march. Officers reportedly seized the placards carried by protesters and destroyed them, in addition to detaining some of the demonstrators.
The protesters were protesting violence against women, chanting, "No violence against women" and "Don't be silent about violence."
The previous day, police roughly detained dozens of demonstrators who had gathered to call for the release of political prisoners and for reductions in rates for natural gas and electricity.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has ruled the South Caucasus country of nearly 10 million since shortly before the death of his father, President Heydar Aliyev, in 2003.
Aliyev has overseen the systematic dismantling of the country's civil society. Dozens of activists, journalists, and human rights activists have been arrested and convicted on what critics say are bogus, politically motivated charges. Independent media outlets have also been shut down.