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Police Clash With Azeris Protesting Headscarf Ban, RFE Reports

Police used tear gas to disperse a group of Azeris protesting a ban on Islamic headscarves, or hijabs, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported.

Truncheon-wielding police prevented demonstrators from rallying outside the Education Ministry in the capital, Baku. The protesters fought back with sticks, according to pictures on the website of the Azeri service of RFE/RL. Today’s clash left several people injured from both sides, according to the report.

Sahlab Bagirov, deputy head of the Baku police, was among the injured, according to privately owned APA news service.

Religious activists have held several rallies in Baku since the government introduced new school uniforms in 2009, banning Islamic-style headscarves. Azeri officials accused Iran of provoking religious groups against the secular government of President Ilham Aliyev. Most Azeris share Iran’s Shiite Muslim religion.

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