BAKU -- Residents of the Caspian coastal village of Narimanabad in Azerbaijan's southern Lankaran district clashed on December 15 with police after border guards tried to prevent local fishermen from casting their nets beyond the two-mile limit, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.
Nine fishermen were arrested, according to a joint statement released by the Prosecutor-General's Office and the Interior Ministry. Some 150 people then sought to secure their release, and a clash ensued between the villagers and Interior Ministry troops.
Three of the nine were released, but six remain in detention on suspicion of resisting government officials and resorting to violence and hooliganism.
Some Narimanabad residents told RFE/RL that the Interior Ministry troops used tear gas against them. They also exhibited spent rubber bullets.
Some people were injured in the fracas, but it is not clear how many. Rahil Valiyev, who is in a Lankaran hospital, told RFE/RL he was knocked down by a military vehicle. Doctors said he sustained a broken hand and leg.
One of the villagers, Israil Khankishiyev, told RFE/RL fishing is their sole potential source of income, but they are not permitted to fish.
"They have broken, sunk the fishermen's boats. The people asked them to release the nine [fishermen who were detained]. All of a sudden, Interior forces entered the village. They detained some people who were on their way home or in a cafeteria, in a state of inebriation. They detained men who were not sober, saying they acted against the state," Khankishiyev said.
Another villager, Dilara Eyvazova, says some of those detained were subjected to electric shocks at sea.
Villagers told RFE/RL they will go to Baku to protest if the detainees are not released.
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