Saturday, April 2, 2011

Azeri police disperse anti-govt. rally

Azerbaijan's police officers detain opposition activists taking part in an anti-government rally in central Baku, on April 2, 2011.

Source: Press TV

Azeri riot police have attacked and dispersed a rally of anti-government protesters, who were calling for democratic reforms, in the capital city of Baku

On Saturday, Azeri riot police prevented protesters from Musavat and Popular Front opposition parties from gathering in Baku's Fountains Square by sealing off the streets leading to the square, an IRIB correspondent reported.

Protesters demanded that the government resigns and cried, “We want freedom."

Leader of the Musavat opposition Party Isa Qambar says more than 200 protesters have been arrested.

The Baku Prosecutor General's Office had summoned Qambar and chairman of Popular Front party Ali Karimli, warning them against organizing the rally on Saturday.

Azeri authorities had taken security measures in Baku and other cities, and arrested tens of members of Musavat and Popular Front parties during past week.

The Islamic Party of Azerbaijan, which had not supported the April 2 rally, has announced that it would probably hold a rally in Azadliq Square on April 8.

The Baku government's anti-religion agenda has caused uproar in the predominantly Muslim nation. Baku bans Azeris from openly observing their religious rites.

Protesters want to the government to respect religious values and prevent Azerbaijan from falling into a crisis.

Muslim communities in Azerbaijan blame the growing non-democratic secularism in the country on Tel Aviv and accuse Israel of being behind anti-Islamic programs in the country.

Shia Muslims make up a vast majority of the population in Azerbaijan.

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