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Activists Protest In Baku, Demand Freedom Of Assembly

May 14, 2012

BAKU -- Azerbaijani opposition parties have held an unsanctioned demonstration in Baku to demand that authorities permit them to hold public gatherings in the center of the capital.

Dozens of activists, united in a group called the Public Chamber, gathered in a downtown Baku park on May 14 to call for Mayor Hajibala Abutalibov’s resignation.

Police prevented protesters from marching to the mayor’s office, and several demonstrators were arrested.

Representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were reportedly present to monitor the confrontation.

It was the second protest this month by the Public Chamber, which plans to publicly protest human-rights violations in Azerbaijan during the hosting of the prestigious Eurovision Song Contest in Baku on May 22-26.

Authorities have previously permited the group to stage rallies on the outskirts of Baku.

With additional reporting by Interfax


Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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