Azerbaijan police crack down on opposition protest

BAKU Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:56pm IST

BAKU Nov 17 (Reuters) - Police in Azerbaijan arrested around 30 opposition activists who tried to stage a protest in the capital Baku on Saturday to demand the president's resignation and dissolution of parliament.

Police officers in helmets and wielding truncheons pushed some of the demonstrators on to city buses.

Azerbaijan's weak opposition has been trying to drum up support by staging regular protests since a series of bigger demonstrations in Baku last year which were inspired by the Arab Spring.

Each protest has been swiftly broken up by security forces.

Around 100 people, called to join Saturday's protest via Facebook, took to the streets, shouting "Dissolve the parliament!" and "The president should resign". About 30 of them were arrested, witnesses said.

Some journalists at the scene were beaten by police when they tried to take photographs of the arrests.

"Some policemen beat me, although they knew and saw that I was a journalist," Faraim Ibragimogly, a correspondent for the opposition Yeni Musavat newspaper, told Reuters. He was wearing a blue flak jacket with the word "Press" on it.

Western governments and human rights groups accuse President Ilham Aliyev, who succeeded his father in 2003, of rigging elections and of clamping down on dissent.

The government insists that the oil-rich nation enjoys full freedom of speech and has a vibrant opposition press.

Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic on the Caspian Sea, is an important energy supplier to Europe and a transit route for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Under pressure from the West, the government released several opposition bloggers and reporters earlier this year, but dozens of activists and journalists are still in jail. (Reporting by Lada Evgrashina; Writing by Margarita Antidze; Editing by Rosalind Russell)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Global Trade Deal

Global Trade Deal

Rural votes, old traumas drive India's WTO brinkmanship.`  Full Article 

E-Commerce Funding

E-Commerce Funding

E-tailer Flipkart raises $1 billion in funding.  Full Article 

Chopper Deal

Chopper Deal

Finmeccanica settles with Italy prosecutors to end Indian chopper deal probe.  Full Article 

Adani Project

Adani Project

Australia approves Adani's $16 bln Carmichael coal project  Full Article 

New Frontiers

New Frontiers

EXCLUSIVE - Goldman moves executive to new role building ETFs.  Full Article 

India-U.S. Talks

India-U.S. Talks

Kerry to woo Modi's India, but quick progress unlikely  Full Article 

Argentina Debt Default

Argentina Debt Default

Insight - Jaded Argentines brace for looming debt default   Full Article 

Anti-trust Probe

Anti-trust Probe

Microsoft targeted in apparent Chinese anti-trust probe  Full Article 

Gaza Conflict

Gaza Conflict

Israel strikes house of Hamas Gaza leader, digs in for long fight.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage