Protests met with detention and disruption, activists detained
The European Union pays special attention to Azerbaijan's civil society
In a recently organised event, the Head of the EU delegation to Azerbaijan, Peter Mikhalko, emphasised how important it is for the European Union to support and cooperate with civil society in this country. According to Mikhalko, only through collaboration can the parties contribute to developing a sustainable community. During the same event, the Head of the EU Delegation in Azerbaijan once again confirmed the EU's openness to continue supporting multi-sector projects developed in partnership with civil society organisations.
Over 100 people arrested during protest by Azeri opposition
On 24th November 2022, an approximately one-hour protest was stopped by the Baku police. The organisers did not receive authorisation for it. According to OC-Media, over 100 people were detained by the police during the demonstration. The protest was resumed the next day, but it was also stopped by the police, even before the people could gather at the announced place.
The protest organisers were the Popular Front Party, who asked the authorities to implement reforms and public policies, and also ensure conditions for protecting the right to assembly, the release of political prisoners and the requirements for holding free and fair elections and reopening the borders. According to the media, the authorisation for the protest may have been denied because the location of the demonstration was near educational institutions.
Police officers detain protestors during a rally by the Musavat party in Baku, Azerbaijan. The protest was held in protest against the suppression of peaceful protests in Iran, the violation of the national and cultural rights of ethnic Azerbaijanis in this country. pic.twitter.com/OkuIPyFuDh— Aziz Karimov (@AzizKarimov14) November 15, 2022
Police prevent protest by activists of the "Musavat" party
On 12th November 2022, the Crisis24 webpage announced a protest by the Azeri opposition in front of the Iranian Embassy in Baku. According to Crisis24, the opposition aimed to protest Iran's "anti-Azerbaijan" policies, the violent suppression of peaceful demonstrations in Iran and the suppression of the sovereignty and violent suppression of the national and cultural rights of ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran.
Although it was not authorised, the leaders of the "Musavat" party still decided to support the protest action. The police however prevented the demonstration and blocked access to the Iranian Embassy. The police detained dozens of protesters, preventing them from joining protests. Among those detained were the head of the "Musavat" party, Arif Hajili, the press secretary of the party, Mustafa Hajibeyli, and others. The protest could not proceed due to the measures taken by the police.
Joint Statement denounces organised pressure against journalists
On 12th November 2022, civil society activists and opposition leaders of a political movement from Azerbaijan released a joint Statement against pressure authorised by the regime against critical voices. According to the Statement, the Ministry of Internal Affairs employees create obstacles for journalists and reporters while covering activities organised by political parties and citizens in the country. Journalists and media workers are subjected to physical force by the police and have their equipment damaged while covering such events. The Statement's signatories called on the Ministry of Internal Affairs to refrain from creating obstacles to citizens' freedom of expression and protest, as well as freedom of the press, to prevent provocation against journalists and implement the legal framework in force.
Azeri activist arrested for sharing a post on social media criticising the Azerbaijani police
In early November 2022, Orkhan Zeynalli, an Azeri activist and member of the Democracy 1918 Movement, was arrested at his home in Baku. Before his arrest, Zeynalli was summoned to the Baku City Police, but refused to go without an official notice. Shortly after that, he was arrested in front of his house for allegedly sharing a post on social media criticising the Azerbaijani police.
On 23rd November 2022, another activist, Muslim Unity Movement member Shahin Gadirov, was detained and charged with drug trafficking. He received four months of pre-trial detention for the charges. The Muslim Unity Movement called the detention a ‘provocation’ against the movement. At least nine members of the movement are in detention.