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Azeri Opposition Protests in Capital Before Eurovision

Scores of opposition members demonstrated in the Azeri capital of Baku, which hosts the Eurovision song contest next week, against President Ilham Aliyev and for the release of imprisoned dissidents.

Law-enforcement officers clashed with the protesters, preventing them from marching toward the city mayor’s office and detaining 18 of theme, the Baku police said in an e-emailed statement today.

Opposition parties are seeking to seize the media spotlight before the Eurovision event, the world’s most-watched singing contest. Azerbaijan, a Muslim nation of 9 million, is the third-largest oil producer in the former Soviet Union after Russia and Kazakhstan.

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