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A massive protest rally in Azerbaijan

April 22, 2012, protest rally in Baku, Azerbaijan

April 22, Public Chamber held a massive protest rally. This as the second massive protest rally after the first on April 8 by the Azerbaijani opposition.

Please, see yesterday’s protest rally here, both pictures and videos and here

Read here how Ali Karimli, chairperson of Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan addressed the protesters.

Read here how Isa Gambar, chairperson of Musavat Party addressed the protesters; and here including the other speakers.

A resident of Baku addressed the protesters.

As you have seen and read about the protest rally, now I will bring readers’ attention to the issues of interest and problems to be potentially resolved.

1) All the buses going in the direction of the protest rally were removed from the routes from 14.00 to 16.30. In this video of Azerbaijan Service of Radio Liberty – http://www.azadliq.org/media/video/24556426.html- you can see how the mass of people were waiting for the buses and while interviewed said, they can’t go to 20-ci Sahe, where the protest rally takes place. The passengers confirm that have been waiting for the buses for an hour and no sign of any bus. At the end of the video, the bus driver says, his boss told him not to drive from 14.00 to 16.30 in the direction of 20-ci Sahe and since then they have been pulling up alongside the road and waiting… The journalist asks why, the driver says “because there is a protest rally and we were instructed not to carry people in that direction”.

As a result of the lack of buses thousands of protesters have failed to reach the 20-ci Sahe.

2) Activists of Public Chamber, Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan (PFPA) and Musavat party were arrested while distributing leaflets to invite citizens to come to the protest rally. Orkhan Jarchiyev, an activist of PFPA was arrested and imprisoned for five days.

Please, take into consideration the above facts and negotiate with the authorities to fulfill its commitments and obligations before the international community. The problems of buses and arrests before the rally much concerns the Public Chamber and please, take action in this regard as to bringing facts to them and asking explanation. It would be better for OSCE, Council of Europe and EU Delegation in Azerbaijan to follow on the facts and also inform us of what the authorities say.

3) Public Chamber is much concerned by the limitation of freedom of assembly. The international community before whom Azerbaijan has commitments shouldn’t think that now the freedom of assembly in Azerbaijan has been provided. Freedom of Assembly doesn’t mean solely providing a single place for protests outside of the city, in remote area, tie it to time restrictions and immediately force to disperse upon the completion of two hours’ time, switching off the electricity now and then to shut the voices of the speakers, remove the buses from the routes not to carry protesters, arrest the activists while distributing leaflets, keep the activists across Azerbaijan under house arrest to keep them joining the rally etc.

This is why Public Chamber, oppositional parties does no way recognize the freedom assembly already ensured in the country and urges the relevant international missions to work more intensively and closely with the government of Azerbaijan to achieve positive results.

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