Azerbaijan: police call in October 19 rally participants ahead of opposition rally
The Musavat opposition party is preparing for a rally, and the police are trying to force them to abandon the idea through fear.
Everyone who attended the October 19 rally has been called to the police.
• What is changing in Azerbaijan – society, gov’t, opposition?
Why tensions have escalated
The relations between the Azerbaijani authorities and the opposition worsened after the Mehsul stadium was ‘closed for repairs.’
The Mehsul stadium was the sole location where the opposition party had been given permission to rally.
Oppositionists are now allowed to rally only in the suburban village of Lokbatan, 20 kilometers from the city.
In retaliation, the opposition has carried out unauthorized rallies in the center of Baku.
On October 19, the opposition tried to gather the National Council of Democratic Forces (NSDS) in a rally. The police and special forces brutally suppressed this attempt, and collected the phone numbers of everyone passing through the area.
• Mass detentions, closed metro stations, disconnected Internet – how Azerbaijani authorities prevented the opposition from holding a rally
Now the opposition party Musavat is preparing for a rally near the Baku executive power building. They will demand that the authorities “give the go-ahead” for rallies in the city.
About a week ago, everyone found in the area where of the October 19th rally was called to the police. They were asked how they got to the rally and what they did there.
By the police’s own admission, they had a lot of work, as they had to check everyone who was in the designated area, which includes a shopping center.
Tracking the rally participants by phone began in January 2019 after an authorized rally of the NSDS.
Opposition complains about pressure
More than a hundred members of the Musavat party were called to the police* with respect to the planned rally.
“They were asked questions about the upcoming rally and were threatened with arrests if they participated,” said Air Force party spokesman Mustafa Hajibayli.
Musavat has not abandoned its plans.