Violent clash on Russian-Azerbaijani border as tensions heat up over stranded Azerbaijanis’ inability to return home
Source material: Caucasian Knot
Azerbaijani citizens stuck on the Russian-Azerbaijani border in Dagestan staged a protest rally demanding that they be returned to their homeland.
As a result, several people were injured, including security officials, but the incident has already been resolved, reports the Caucasian Knot.
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About 600 Azerbaijani citizens are now living in a camp in the Dagestan village of Kullar, waiting to be evacuated. Back in March, when the coronavirus pandemic first broke out, they began to flock here from different parts of Russia to return home. But the border is closed due to the quarantine regime.
The Azerbaijani authorities have only evacuated 100-200 people within a period of one to two weeks. And in the meantime, people continued to come to Dagestan. Local authorities have taken them and and are taking care of them, but their money and patience are running out, and they are asking Azerbaijan to speed up the process.
The Azerbaijanis stranded there complain of intense heat, unsanitary conditions and low living standards, and do not understand the system by which people are being evacuated – some have been at the border for several months and they have not yet reached the top of the list. At one point, some even went on a hunger strike.
Azerbaijan’s only response is that “the return of citizens is being implemented in stages as resources allow and those returning are subject to mandatory quarantine.”
Conflict on the border
The protest rally took place on June 15, when news broke that the next day, another 240 people would be allowed to return home. The rest of the people in the camp were indignant that they would have to remain behind.
They marched to the border and demanded that border crossing officials let everyone pass. Security forces blocked their path and a clash occurred. The officials used tear gas and batons, and in response, protesters threw stones and various objects at them.
Both sides suffered injuries. In particular, four security officers were hospitalized. But “now everyone has calmed down, everything is over,” says Fuad Shikhiev, acting head of the Derbent region in Dagestan.
One of the protesters stated that they are “angry at the Azerbaijani authorities, which is what brought the situation to this point.”