Police in Azerbaijan detain 23 opposition protesters

Police in Azerbaijani capital of Baku said it arrested 23 oppositionists, participated in a failed unsanctioned protest on Sunday.

“23 of about 80 protesters were arrested for violating the order of assembly, disobeying lawful request by a police officer and disorderly conduct,” the police said.

The decision to hold the rally was made on May 27 and then the opposition addressed to the city’s authorities. Baku authorities suggested the Bibi Heybat settlement, as a site for protests, however the Public Chamber, which consists of a number of opposition parties, decided to hold an unsanctioned rally on June 19 on a square in front of the Narimanov cinema.

“Unauthorized mass action would be strongly suppressed by the police, who are the guarantor of public order and safety, as violating the constitutional rights of citizens,” Azerbaijani Interior Ministry Ehsan Zahidov was cited by Azerbaijani news.az portal.

“If the Public Chamber rally set for 19 June is sanctioned by the Baku Mayor’s Office and staged in a venue allotted by it, the police would provide security of rally participants,” Zahidov said.

Police arrived one hour before the beginning of the protest and blocked the square thus preventing the rally.

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