An unauthorized rally attempt in central part of Baku by some opposition groups was presented in a one-sided and distorted manner. Hasty EU statement on rally does not reflect reality as well. Claims about excessive use of force and detention of dozens of people are simply not true.
Hikmat Hajiyev is Head of Foreign Policy Department of the Presidential Administration of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Freedom of assembly is fully provided in Azerbaijan. In response to appeal of opposition group, Baku city mayor’s office suggested to hold demonstration in designated Lokbatan area of Baku city. But so-called opposition refused, and made unauthorized actions to hold demonstration in the security zone of 28 May station. According to the law of Azerbaijan on Freedom of Assembly public rallies and demonstrations in the security zone of metro stations are forbidden for safety reasons.
Aside from that, the very same group’s appeal to hold protest piquet on October 8th in front of Baku city mayor’s office was guaranteed. But they have attempted to turn it into the rally along the central street in busy traffic hours.
During the October 18th rally Azerbaijani police acted in professional and proportional manner. The ones who have been detained were released after being properly notified. No one has injured. Therefore, claims of certain people, including Ali Karamly, leader of National Front Party about injuries inflicted by police are nothing other than false statement.
We have also witnessed harsh use of disproportionate and excessive use of force, including rubber bullets, dogs in some European capitals against peaceful demonstrations.
National Front Party is a relic of history. Their policy in early 90s brought Azerbaijan to threshold of civil war and failure. Socio-economic development of Azerbaijan and all-encompassing reform agenda of Government leave them without any argument. Anarchic street protest, populism and demagogy are the only tools that they used to.
The true intention behind this rally was to depict dramatized and victimized picture with a religious appeal. It also aimed at gaining internal and international public support. People of Azerbaijan are a source of power. They cast their votes in ballet boxes.
Democratic and stable development is a conscious choice of Azerbaijan.