Azerbaijan Security Forces Prevent Opposition Rally in Capital

April 17 (Bloomberg) -- Riot police and plain-clothes security officers prevented Azerbaijan’s opposition from rallying in the capital and detained demonstrators.

The main opposition parties Musavat, People’s Front, National Independence and several other groups had called for a rally in Baku to demand political and economic reform. The police said in a statement that 65 people were detained and 25 were later released.

Police cordoned off one of Baku’s main parks to prevent demonstrators coming together and there was a greater-than-usual security present throughout the center of the city.

Opponents of President Ilham Aliyev’s regime are campaigning for greater democratic freedoms in the oil-rich former Soviet republic. Protesters won’t be able to replicate uprisings in the Middle East that toppled regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, Aliyev said yesterday in state-run newspapers.

To contact the reporter on this story: Zulfugar Agayev in Baku via the Moscow news room at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dick Schumacher at