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In Baku, police prevents opposition's promenade
Tonight, in Baku, police prevented the action in support of democratic reforms, which was planned by the Civil Movement for Democracy "Public Chamber" (CMDPC). The police detained more than 50 persons. This was stated by Gasan Kerimov, the head of the Supreme Mejlis of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA).
The action was to begin at 6:00 p.m. in Primorsky Boulevard, at the parachute tower. The oppositionists intended to hold promenade along the Boulevard till 8:00 p.m. According to the organizers, due to large number of its participants, the action was to draw attention of Baku residents and guests, including foreign journalists, who came to the song contest "Eurovision", to the fact that there were people with alternative views and supporters of democracy in Azerbaijan.
However, an hour prior to the scheduled time, policemen and persons in civilian clothes took control over the part of the Boulevard and the area around the nearby metro station "Sakhil". When small groups of the protesters approached the place, they were being immediately detained and forced into buses, specially removed from the city routes, and police cars, the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent reports.
"One group of detainees has been driven away in direction of the historical and cultural reserve 'Gobustan' in 60 km to south-west of Baku, where they are likely to be released in the desert. Another group is also likely to be brought out of the city," said Gasan Kerimov, the head of the Supreme Mejlis of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA).
It should be noted that the incident was witnessed by dozens of foreign journalists, representatives of Embassies and international human rights organizations.
"The incident, which we witnessed in the streets of Baku, raises our deepest concern. People were detained for their willing to express their protest in a peaceful manner. People are being detained only for shouting the slogan 'Freedom!', and sometimes they are also being detained, when they keep silence," said Georgy Gogia, the HRW's representative.
He also condemned the arrest of the youth activist Anar Geraily for distributing the human rights leaflets.
"He was sentenced to a 10-day arrest. However, today, the Court of Appeal released him. Meanwhile, during two days, parent of the young man were not informed about the place of his detention. During two days, he had no opportunity to meet a lawyer," said Georgy Gogia.
In her turn, Olga Shamshur, Project Manager of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, stated that she was shocked by what she saw in the centre of Baku, when the police detained anyone, who wanted to participate in the peaceful protest.
"We are very anxious for Azerbaijani journalists and human rights activists, who may be subjected to repressions after the song contest 'Eurovision', when Azerbaijan will be not at the focus of the international media," told Olga Shamshur the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.
"Brutally dispersing protest actions even in the days of the song contest 'Eurovision', the Azerbaijani authorities openly show their disrespect to the international public opinion. One of the reasons that the situation has reached such a level is behaviour the very Western politicians and international organizations that for many years neglected violation of human rights in favour of energy interests," believes Intigam Aliev, the leader of the Azerbaijani Legal Education Society.
At present, the information from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) on the number of detainees is still unavailable. The MIA's officials stated that "the information is being specified."
On May 25, the HRW claimed the need for prompt investigation into the dispersal of the protest action in Azerbaijan.
See earlier reports: "In Azerbaijan, Court of Appeal releases "NIDA" activist," "All the people detained during an action of protest in front of the building of Public TV in Baku released," "In Baku, police disperses oppositional protesters."
Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent
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