2 апр. 2011 г.

Protest action in center of Baku - 2 april 2011





Over 200 people detained during today’s rally of Azerbaijan’s opposition 


Over 200 people were detained during today’s rally of Azerbaijan’s opposition in Baku. The action initiated by the opposition’s Public Chamber was actually divided into several rallies and took place despite the efforts of the riot troops and police to prevent it.


A member of the rally committee, Gulaga Aslanly has told Turan dozens of people were taken to different police stations, while the location of others is still unclear. The detainees included numerous journalists, public figures and activists of political parties. Many of them were insulted and subjected to violence.


According to the latest news, many of the detainees were brutally beaten and tortured in the Nasimi district’s police department. They included the activists of several parties (Popular Front, Musavat, Democratic Party, Classical Popular Front, etc.).


“The action succeeded despite the officials’ efforts and cruelty. We were not scared and we held our rally in the city center for two hours. It was a success and we proved that we are not just a group of pretenders and that the power cannot oppose the people’s will,” the Popular Front Party’s Vice-chairman, Fuad Gahramanli stated at the improvised rally at the monument to Nasimi. He was arrested immediately after that.


The officials used provocateurs against the opposition’s rallies, which was a novelty in their anti-opposition struggle. The infiltrated provocateurs crashed shop windows in several places. Two of them were detained by the police and released a few minutes later.


Demonstrators pelt Heydar Aliyev with eggs 


Riot troops have not managed to stop the rallies of protest in the center of Baku. The opposition has deceived the authorities and arranged several actions in different places irrespective of one another last hour. The assembly of some of the activists in Fountains Square proved to be a diversion. Meanwhile, hundreds of young people marched at least in two directions. The police forces constrained in the city center could not stop the opposition doing this. Spontaneous rallies continued in different places after 15:00.


Severl hundreds of people are marching from the Nizami Cinema to the Heydar Aliyev Palace.


Another group is marching near the monument to Nasimi. The police cannot overtake several young people teasing Yashar Aliyev’s stout soldiers.


The riot troops have severely beaten several youths with truncheons in the street.


Meanwhile, a group of youngsters fulfilled the dream of many opposition-minded people in Azerbaijan – they pelted the monument to Heydar Aliyev opposite the Central Bank of Azerbaijan with eggs.


Several hundreds of demonstrators march towards railway station


Several hundreds of demonstrators have breached the police cordons and are marching in the city center. The largest crowd is moving towards the Opera Theater and chanting ‘Ouster!’ and ‘Ilham, go away!’


The demonstrators have comer to Behbudov Street and are moving towards the railway station. The police are not trying to stop them.


Opposition’s rally starts; Yashar Aliyev orders to banish journalists 


Despite the efforts made by the police and special services, the opposition’s rally of protest has started in the city center. Two groups of young people chanting anti-governmental slogans have appeared in January 9 Square (Molokan Park). Two rows of police have blockaded the venue and do not allow the journalists to come.


The former MP Panah Huseynov and the Popular Front Party’s Vice-Chairman, Fuad Gahramanli have been reportedly detained. Thirty people have been detained in the Fountains Square roundabouts.


The police and riot troops have sent a special team to watch journalists and detain them. The journalists taking images of the action are banished or prevented from doing their job. Several of them have been detained or subjected to violence. The operator Mehman Kerimli and the reporter to the Yukselish Namine paper, Elchin Hasanov are among them. The Baku Police Department’s Vice-Chief, Yashar Aliyev has personally ordered to impede the journalists’ work.  


The police have begun to use electric-shock devices against the demonstrators for the first time. But several groups of youths have breached the cordons and marched from the Sahil Subway to the Fountains Square. Several other groups are marching from the seaside boulevard to the city center, chanting slogans.


Turan reports dozens of detainees have been seated into the police vehicles and beaten inside. Tear gas was also sprayed into the vehicles. But a large group of protesters has stopped a bus with detainees and managed to free some of them. They also confiscated some of the police shields and batons.


The area of the clashes is expanding and the police obviously cannot cope with the demonstrators.


Dozens of journalists blockaded by riot troops in Fountains Square 


About 30 journalists from different media have been blockaded by the riot troops close to the McDonald’s restaurant in Fountains Square. They are not permitted to enter the square and take photos or video images of the opposition’s rally’s dispersal. The police also prohibit the journalists to interview participants in the anti-governmental action, who have already arrived at the venue.


The quick response regiment’s soldiers toughly press the reporters out of the venue and do not allow them to take any images.


Riot troops in Baku city center 


Dozens of buses with riot troops were brought to the Baku city center and located in the area surrounded by Samed Vurgun Street (near the monument to Nasimi), Khagani Street (near the library named after Akhundov), the Interior Ministry (in Husi Hajiyev Street), and the square opposite the Constitutional Court.


Turan reports most of the police and riot troops have gathered near the McDonald’s restaurant close to Fountains Square. Many people in plainclothes are also present in the venue.


Opposition parties report about the detention of their activists on the way to Baku. E.g. the police have blockaded the Sumgayit-Baku and Novkhana-Baku highways to prevent the suburban settlements’ residents from coming to the city.


Police blockade Fountains Square


The Baku police have applied an emergency regime since early morning. They control all streets leading to the city center and blockade several of them completely. E.g. the police cars blockade Nizami Street from the Central Department Store to Fountains Square and Tolstoy Street until the monument to Nasimi.


Police also guard other venues to prevent the opposition from entering Fountains Square. The rally is scheduled for 14:00 and the police have been detaining the activists since early morning.


A member of the rally committee formed by the opposition’s Public Chamber told Turan the police have detained 10 activists in the regions and the Baku suburbs.


The police also control the bus and railway stations and the entries to Baku and demand taxicab drivers not deliver the protesters to the city.


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