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Azerbaijani Police Disperse Protesters

Police dispersed the protesters
Police dispersed the protesters
BAKU -- Azerbaijani police have dispersed people in the central Saatli district trying to protest the government's failure to provide assistance to families whose homes were destroyed in flooding last summer, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

Police surrounded and dispersed would-be picket participants and journalists in the village of Novruzlu. Some protesters resisted police, who told RFE/RL that four people were temporarily detained.

Saatli police chief Agaeli Khalilov told RFE/RL the protest was dispersed because it was unsanctioned. He said the protesters gathered on a bridge over the Araz River -- a strategic facility where such gatherings are forbidden.

The protesters say nine months have passed since the Kura River burst its banks and flooded the Sabirabad and Saatli regions, causing damage to thousands of homes, many of which have still not received any government assistance.

Novruzlu residents are also protesting being housed in a new settlement three kilometers away in the neighboring Sabirabad district. They say the settlement is not suitable for habitation.

Police had detained and questioned the protest organizers on February 23.

Read more in Azeri here