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Thousands In Azerbaijan Mark 30th Anniversary Of Deadly Soviet Crackdown

BAKU -- Thousands of Azerbaijanis have descended on the capital, Baku, to mark the 30th anniversary of the Soviet crackdown in which dozens of people were killed.

Visitors from across the country made their way to the "Alley of Martyrs" on January 20 to commemorate the victims of what is known in the Caucasus nation as "Black January."

Members of the government, other top officials, and representatives of foreign diplomatic missions also took part in the ceremonies.

Meanwhile, special prayers commemorating the victims of the crackdown were performed in the country's mosques.

Broadcasts of entertainment programs on television were canceled and somber music was played in the Baku subway.

On January 20, 1990, the Soviet government sent troops to Azerbaijan to thwart efforts by the country's independence movement to overthrow the Soviet Azerbaijani government.

According to official estimates, 134 civilians were killed in Baku and 13 more in the cities of Neftecale and Calilabad.

Official figures also show that at least 800 people were injured and five individuals went missing in the crackdown.