Baku city authorities have prohibited a march by the Musavat opposition party
The Executive authority of the city of Baku has prohibited a march by the opposition Musavat party scheduled for 21 October, citing ‘possible interference in the free movement of traffic on the streets of the city’ at the reason. As an alternative, the opposition party was invited to hold their rally at the Mehsul stadium on the outskirts of Baku.
However, the Musavat party rejected the authorities’ offer. Arif Hajili, leader of the party, called the decision of city authorities ‘illegal’ on his Facebook page.
“The Baku Executive authority does not have the power to ban mass demonstrations. It’s even more absurd to prohibit a march under the pretext of ‘an increasing number of cars’ in the city of Baku,” Hajili wrote.
At the same time, he recalled a recent statement by President Ilham Aliyev at a meeting with the EU delegation that ‘freedom of assembly is fully ensured in Azerbaijan’.
“Freedom of assembly cannot be limited to one stadium, and should be extended to the entire territory of the country. By not agreeing to allow our rally, Azerbaijani authorities have shown that there is no freedom of assembly in the country,” Hajili said.
The Musavat party is one of the main extra-parliamentary opposition parties in Azerbaijan. It doesn’t belong to the opposition block of the National Council of Democratic Forces of Azerbaijan.
The Musavat party was restored in 1992, and declared itself the successor to the ruling party of the first independent Republic of Azerbaijan in 1918-1920.
Isa Gambar, the leader of the ‘Musavat’ party headed the Milli Majlis (Parliament) of Azerbaijan in 1992-1993, and served as president at the time.