Baku police disperse feminist rally on International Women’s Day
The Baku police have dispersed a feminist rally on the occasion of International Women’s Day, explaining the demonstration was unsanctioned by the municipal authorities. Three young activists and two journalists have been detained. Their location is as of yet unknown.
The three young activists are Masud Asker, Intiqam Ismailov and Orhan Mammadov.
The rally was planned by a feminist group via social media. Organizers say the reason the rally was not first agreed upon with city authorities is that they did not want to ask “permission from male officials to hold a female march”.
The participants of the march agreed to meet at 2pm, and to then continue through the centre of the city to the monument of female poet Natavan. However, the police, who were aware of the planned march, took control of the area around the statue.
When the marchers arrived, the police took their posters from them and asked them to disperse. The participants responded that the constitution provides for the freedom of assembly and that there were no grounds for disrupting a peaceful march.
Immediately after the police intervened, a group of, as was described by demonstrators themselves, ‘aggressive older women appeared’, who attacked the participants of the action and journalists, cursed them and tried to make them disperse. The police did not interfere.
The confrontation between the police and the protesters lasted about half an hour. As a result, some of the participants were pushed back into the nearby metro station, where they continued to chant the slogan “No to violence against women”. Then they were pushed into the train cars and forced to leave.
One of the organizers of the march, Nisa Hajiyeva, told JAMnews what happened next:
“After we were pushed into the subway car and forced to leave, we arrived at the Sahil metro station and from there we still reached the Natavan monument. I think if the police did not try to stop us, this march would have gone much quieter. Of course, we expected such a reaction, but we deliberately did not coordinate the rally with the authorities, because it contradicts the very idea of 8 March as the day of the struggle of women for their rights.”