Anniversary of Khojaly tragedy in Azerbaijan: thousands march, opposition clashes with police
Azerbaijan is marking the twenty-seventh anniversary of one of the bloodiest episodes of the Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Khojaly tragedy.
On the night of 25 February 1992, armed Armenian military personnel of the 366th motorized rifle regiment which was deployed in Karabakh attacked and captured the Azerbaijani town of Khojaly.
Azerbaijan says 613 civilians out of a population of 6,000 were killed during the operation. Another 487 civilians were seriously injured, 1,275 were taken prisoner, and the fates of 150 people are still unknown. Eight families were wiped out altogether.
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Every year on the eve of the anniversary, an international campaign titled Justice for Khojaly takes place. The purpose of the campaign is to inform the world about the tragedy and see that those responsible be brought to justice.
This year, a procession of thousands of people passed through the central streets of Baku, and a minute of silence was observed.
The police used force to prevent members of the Musavat opposition party from visiting a monument dedicated to the victims of Khojaly. This resulted in one party member being hospitalized.
Details of the clash
A large delegation of the Musavat party intended to lay flowers down at the Khojaly monument. However, the police refused to let them near the monument, arguing that only relatives of the deceased could approach. After almost half an hour, the police began to push the opposition away from the area.
The press officer of the party, Mehman Kamran, was injured and taken to hospital.
The Musavat leadership called the actions of the police a “shame” and “mockery”.