AZERBAIJAN : Talks on proposed opposition marches to be held in Baku

Azerbaijan’s authorities and opposition agreed at their negotiations in Baku on Sunday hold a meeting next week to discuss which parts of the city may play host to proposed opposition marches.

“A meeting will be held at the City Hall no later than Tuesday. A representative of the presidential administration will be present. The meeting will address the possibility of holding massive actions in six areas suggested by the opposition,” Musavat party deputy chairman Arif Gadzhiyev told journalists.

The opposition will hold its planned rallies regardless of the outcome of next week’s meeting, he said.

“The authorities promised at the meeting [on Sunday] that all people detained during today’s action will be released within the next hour,” Gadzhiyev said.

According to earlier reports, opposition activists tried to make their headway up narrow streets towards Jafar Jabbarly Square. Police cordoned off the roads leading to the square. Some of the demonstrators were detained.

Police have thwarted an attempt by Azerbaijan’s Freedom opposition bloc to hold an unauthorized rally in Baku’s central square.

After the demonstrators were stopped from entering the square, their leaders called on them to halt the action, an Interfax correspondent reported from the scene.

People’s Front of Azerbaijan deputy chairman Fuad Mustafayev told journalists that the authorities have proposed holding negotiations to avoid any confrontation. He said that such talks will begin within the next 30 minutes.

Earlier reports indicated that opposition activists were trying to make their headway up narrow streets towards Jafar Jabbarly Square.

Police have cordoned off the roads leading to the square. Some of the demonstrators have been detained.

Fifteen police officers were injured in clashes with Azerbaijani Freedom opposition bloc activists who tried to hold an unauthorized rally in downtown Baku on Sunday, city deputy police chief Yashar Aliyev told journalists.

Up to 1,000 people chanting “Free Elections!” and “Freedom!” tried to make their headway up narrow streets toward Jafar Jabbarly Square, Aliyev said. Several dozen opposition members were detained, he said.

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