On November 17th (the Day of National Revival) the opposition held an unsanctioned protest in the center of Baku, to demand the dissolution of the Azerbaijani Parliament and the annulment of the amendments to legislation to increase penalties for unsanctioned rallies. Taking action to disperse the protest, the police officers behaved rudely against journalists. Great number of police forces were deployed in the Fountain Square (where the protest was to be held) long before the start of the demonstration. Shouting slogans such as “Freedom!”, “Resign!” and “Dismiss the Parliament!” the first groups of protesters faced violent police pressure; up to 30 of them were detained. Most of the detainees were from Musavat and Popular Front Parties.
Yeni Musavat newspaper correspondent Farahim Ilgaroglu, Turan Information Agency reporter Etimad Budagov, MediaForum correspondent Amid Suleymanov and IRFS correspondent Rasim Aliyev were subject to physical pressure by police employees, while covering the protest. The police violently kicked and punched the four journalists despite of the fact that they were wearing Press Jackets, and seriously hindered the work of other journalists.
The police violence comes less than a week after the recent meeting in the Press Council which discussed “journalist-police relations in demonstrations” with the participation of OSCE Special Rapporteur Dunja Mijatovic, Head of Socio-Political Department of the Presidential Administration Ali Hasanov, Press Council chairman Aflatun Amashov, editors, journalists and high-raking police officials. Even Press Jackets had been distributed to journalists at that meeting. Moreover, a joint workshop was held for police and journalists.