Azeri riot police detain dozens of anti-govt. demonstrators
Police officers detain opposition activists as they try to hold a rally to demand the resignation of President Elham Aliyev at the Fountains Square in central Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, on December 10, 2012.
Riot police in Azerbaijan have detained at least 30 protesters as they tried to stage a peaceful demonstration against the government of President Elham Aliyev in the capital Baku.
The arrests came after hundreds of people gathered near the Fountains Square in central Baku on Monday where they demanded the resignation of the government of Aliyev and the dissolution of the parliament.
The opposition parties including Azerbaijan Popular Front Party and Musavat (equality) Party say the sitting lawmakers are corrupt and do not represent the will of the people.
Marking International Human Rights Day, the protesters chanted slogans and called for free elections in the country.
“With this protest, we have managed to draw the international community's attention to the alarming situation regarding human rights, media freedom, and political atmosphere in Azerbaijan,” said leader of the Musavat Party, Isa Gambar during the protest.
Carrying Azerbaijan’s national and opposition party flags, protesters also demanded release of people arrested during the previous rally.
On November 17, a similar protest occurred in the same city where security forces arrested dozens of anti-government demonstrators including journalists who covered the protest rally.
The Azeri protesters are furious about the gap between the rich and the poor, rampant corruption and an economy highly dependent on oil in the country of nine million.
Meanwhile, many Western governments accuse the Azerbaijani president of suppressing freedom of information and assembly, harassing journalists and rigging elections.