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Hundreds rally in Baku against corruption

9 October 2017
Opposition activists during the demonstration on 7 October (Azadliq Radio)

Hundreds of people gathered in Baku on 7 October to protest against state corruption. The rally was organised by the National Council of Democratic Forces — an umbrella group consisting of several of Azerbaijan’s opposition groups.

Chants of ‘end to corruption’ and ‘freedom for political prisoners’ were shouted at the rally, according to RFE/RL, with protesters accusing the government of cracking down on journalists, the opposition, and human rights activists. 

According to RFE/RL, more than 1,200 people, mostly members and supporters of opposition parties, gathered at Baku’s Yasamal’s District stadium. The demonstration included members and supporters of Azerbaijani Popular Front Party, the People's Democratic Party, the youth wing of the Musavat Party, the National Statehood Party, Muslim Union, and the NIDA Movement, RFE/RL reported.

The demonstration echoed the demands of a rally in mid-September in Baku, Caucasian Knot reported. More than 1,500 people joined the protest on 23 September, which was sparked by a journalistic investigation known as the Azerbaijani Laundromat revealing that Azerbaijani authorities laundered almost $3 billion in the UK between 2012–2014, using the funds to bribe several high level European figures.

[Read on OC Media: Investigation reveals secret $3 billion UK-based Azerbaijani slush fund]

‘Activists detained’

The opposition Azerbaijani Popular Front Party (APFP) says six of their activists were detained on 5 and 6 October, in the lead-up to the rally.

Irada Nariman, a senior member of the APFP, told Caucasian Knot the detained activists were responsible for coordinating the demonstration.

Caucasian Knot quoted Nariman as saying they have been detained on administrative charges for between 10–30 days.

According to Meydan TV, tens of opposition activists were summoned to police stations in Baku and asked to abstain from participating in the demonstration.