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Azerbaijani Activists Organize Day Of Protest Via Facebook

A screenshot from the "11 March - Great People's Day in Azerbaijan" page on Facebook
A screenshot from the "11 March - Great People's Day in Azerbaijan" page on Facebook
BAKU -- Azerbaijani youth activists have begun a Facebook campaign calling for a day of protest against the government to be held on March 11, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The organizers of the campaign are calling March 11 the Great Peoples' Day and want people to click their approval of the protest as well as gather in different towns and cities across Azerbaijan.

The organizers wrote that "you do not need to be in Azerbaijan or attend a particular march to take part in this event. By clicking 'I'm attending' you are simply showing your support for the Azerbaijani [opposition] cause online."

More than 20,000 Internet users have been informed of the initiative and a few thousand have joined the group, with thousands of others being contacted.

France-based Azerbaijani activist Elnur Majidli, one of the Facebook page's founders, told RFE/RL that March 11 has been chosen because it is one month after the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

He added that "also, Azerbaijani opposition youth activist Cabbar Savalan was detained on February 11 on fabricated drugs charges."

Majidli said the event scheduled for March 11 can take various forms. "Dozens or hundreds of different protests may take place on that day, one person may hang a flag from his/her house, another may wear a T-shirt with the event's slogans, another may distribute leaflets, etc.," Majidli said.

The group calls on young people to gather in different cities and districts to express their thoughts regarding the current situation in Azerbaijan.

Parliament deputy Fazail Agamali, who heads the pro-governmental Motherland party, told local media on March 2 that the online project is being organized by Azerbaijani opposition parties and movements.

Majidli denied that, saying that many opposition politicians have even criticized the organizers of the event for choosing "the wrong date."

There are reports that teachers at Azerbaijani universities have told students not to take part in the online event.

Meanwhile, the group's account on Facebook says "Many thanks to those who showed support and solidarity with the Azerbaijani people -- The People's Revolution is Victorious!"

Read more in Azeri here