Youth Protest in Azerbaijani Capital
|Publisher||Institute for War and Peace Reporting|
|Publication Date||23 March 2012|
|Citation / Document Symbol||CRS Issue 635|
|Cite as||Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Youth Protest in Azerbaijani Capital, 23 March 2012, CRS Issue 635, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f72ed0b2.html [accessed 16 September 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
More than a thousand young Azerbaijanis braved driving snow to gather in Baku's Sabavil district on March 17 for a demonstration against corruption and the jailing of journalists and activists.
It was the first rally to be granted official approval in the capital since 2005, and was organised by the Youth Rights Defence Committee, an umbrella group bringing together the youth wings of the opposition Popular Front, Musavat, Democrat and Civil Solidarity parties; the Azad, Nida, Positive Change and Dalga youth movements; and the Human Rights Club.
Government officials were quick to point out that the protest was proof that freedom of speech existed in Azerbaijan.
Ali Hasanov, chief of the public policy department in the president's office, expressed regret at trouble that marred the end of the demonstration.
He was referring to a performance by the rock group Bulistan after the speeches finished. Police intervened when singer Jamal Ali used profanities and insulted President Ilham Aliyev.
As well as Ali, they detained guitar player Natig Kamilov and Etibar Salmanli of the Nida group when they tried to protect the singer.
The three were taken away in a police van and Ali was given ten days in detention, while Salmanli and Kamilov got six and five days, respectively.