Protest against the law "On political parties" held in Baku; dozens arrested
Protest in Baku
A protest was held in the center of Baku against the adoption of a law “On political parties” in the country’s parliament. The protest was organized by the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan. Long before the start of the event the police began to arrest the alleged protesters. Arrests continued during the rally itself in front of the country’s parliament building.
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A few days ago, the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan announced a protest on September 30 against the adoption of the law.
According to another law, the organizers of protests must notify the executive branch of their intentions. But Baku authorities denied the request, noting in a response letter that it considers this event “inappropriate”.
After the publication of the response, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan issued a warning to the organizers of the protest. “If there are attempts to hold a protest with which the executive powers do not agree, it will be considered illegal, and all measures will be taken to prevent the event from taking place,” the Ministry of Internal Affairs noted.
Dozens of detainees
The rally was scheduled for 4pm local time, but the first arrests of alleged protesters began in the morning.
One of the first arrested was well-known oppositionist and a member of the National Council Tofig Yagublu.
Until 4pm, the lists of detainees updated on social networks by independent journalists included dozens of oppositionists, journalists and family members of possible protesters.
Arrests continued directly in front of the country’s parliament building, where oppositionists had gathered in small groups. The police also did not allow them to read the appeals of the protest organizers.
Currently nothing is known about the fate of those arrested.
Why do oppositionists dislike the law “On political parties”?
The draft of the new law “On political parties” according to experts contains strict requirements for the founders of these organizations.
According to the draft law, which has been submitted for discussion by the parliament, parties can only be established by at least 200 citizens of the country who have been living in Azerbaijan continuously for the past 20 years. Experts believe that this paragraph infringes on the rights of those under the age of 20, although in Azerbaijan citizens from the age of 18 can take part in elections.
Another paragraph of the draft law requires political parties to have at least 10,000 members. Previously, this limit was 1000 people. Moreover, the parties must submit to the government a list of their members with their exact home addresses and telephone numbers.
There are currently 60 political parties in Azerbaijan. It is expected that these requirements will apply to them as well.
There is also clause according to which a party that refused to participate in parliamentary and municipal elections twice in a row can be dissolved.
Protest in Baku