April 17th, 2011

Today, the protest rally arranged by the Public Chamber in Sahil Park was prevented with use of force.

The central streets of the city leading to the Sahil Park were under police control since the hours of the early morning. The pedestrians were not allowed to move through side-walks.  The automobile roads were blocked with concrete pillars. Further, the police had suspended the operation of the Sahil subway station, the passengers were not allowed to use this station. Moreover, the passengers leaving the 28 may subway station were not allowed to move towards Sahil Park.

In spite of the police precautions, a group of protesters voiced slogans before the Nizami Cinema and disseminated flyers with slogans “Resignation to Ilham”, “An end to a king's regime!”. However, the police immediately arrested the protesters. They faced police violence. The women, the aged were dragged, and even 5-year-old girl was arrested and taken to police offices.

The rally also saw the arrest of 3 Swiss journalists by undercover agents. They are My Rohwedder Street, Charlotta Wijkström and Charlie Laprevote. The Swiss journalists are visiting Azerbaijan to become familiar with the economic developments in the country, as well as to make reports for Swiss TV channels on Azerbaijan-Europe relations. The journalists were taken to police department #39. The police department told IRFS that the journalists have been freed. However, the Swiss journalists said that they have been taken to Migration Office.

The tension appeared in city center since morning hours lasted till 7pm. There is no accurate information about the number of the arrested protesters, but it is reported to be about 60  to 100.