Today, April 22 is the protest rally in Baku, organized by Pro-democracy Public Chamber of Azerbaijan opposition. It is the second so-called authorized rally by Baku Mayoralty since 2005. The first protest rally was held on April 8, just around two weeks back, which brought together around ten thousand protesters.
Nevertheless, the authorities sanctioned the rally, still put pressures on the activists not to go to protest rally today. Already several activists from Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan and Musavat Party are almost under house arrest, among who are in particular activists in Agstafa district branch of the parties, who wished to come to the capital from 400 km distance.
Several capital city branch chairpersons were also called to police and warned not to go to rally today.
Public Chamber had also a decision to distribute leaflets among the citizens and invite them to join the authorized protest rally, which is the action not prohibited by law. Regardless of the lawfulness of the action, several activists are already stopped by the police and leaflets are confiscated.
Before the April 8 protest rally, the activists were also stopped while distributing leaflets and five of them were imprisoned from 12 to 15 days of arrest. Public Chamber is concerned with this fact and has a fear that those detained may get again several days of imprisonment or even could potentially face criminal proceedings against them.
Different problems were also created on April 8 protest rally, one of which you can read in my earlier post here – https://blog.razinurullayev.com/?p=925.
On April 8 also all the buses were cancelled going in the direction of 20-ci Sahe, the protest rally place, to keep people stopping from reaching the rally.
It is highly expected that the same may be repeated at this time, too.
Once more, we call upon the authorities not to put obstacles in the way of protesters and fulfill its obligations and commitments before the international community to ensure freedom of assembly.
We also urge upon the international community to thoroughly monitor the protest rally just from the beginning, including the areas like Baki Soveti, Azneft Square, 28 May and Sahil metro stations to identify if the buses are going in the direction of the 20-ci Sahe and protesters are not stopped by the police.