- Title: AZERBAIJAN: Azeri police thwart opposition rally in capital Baku
- Date: 2nd October 2005
- Summary: POLICE ADVANCING TOWARDS THE OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS POLICE TAKING AWAY AN OPPOSITION SUPPORTER
- Embargoed: 17th October 2005 13:00
- Location: Azerbaijan
- Country: Azerbaijan
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA70RAHIBIMYRA306FPMF81P5LC
- Story Text: Azeri police thwarted an attempt by opponents of the government to stage an official rally in central Baku on Saturday (October 1).
Officers sealed off the city centre in the early hours of the morning. Opposition supporters who started marching towards the centre from various parts of town were stopped by police in riot gear.
Several thousand protesters, many of them wearing orange t-shirts and ribbons and shouting "Freedom" clashed with baton-yielding riot police as they approached the city's central squares.
Police said several opposition supporters were detained. Opposition leaders say the number of detained protesters is much higher.
The rally was part of a series of protests for the run-up to the Nov 6 parliamentary elections. Protesters said they wanted fair elections and more freedom.
Azerbaijan's opposition is being closely watched at home and abroad to see if the trend for "velvet" revolutions continues in the former Soviet Union after massive protests by opponents unseated long-term leaders in Georgia and Ukraine.
Aliyev, who took over the presidency from his father in 2003, has warned rivals they have no chance of coming to power on the back of popular protests.
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