Is the government against a protest or the opening of land borders?

Baku/21.07.22/Turan: Yesterday,  in Baku,  the police dispersed a protest in front of the Cabinet of Ministers  demanding to open the country's land borders. The first to be detained was Tofig Yagublu (an activist of the Musavat Party and the National Council of Democratic Forces) and Seymour Hazi (Deputy Chairman of the Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan).

40-50 people, pushed back from the building of the Cabinet of Ministers, continued the action, chanting slogans and calling for the opening of borders.

Police detained most of the protesters. According to preliminary estimates, there were about 25 people. The press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs told the Turan news agency that there were no detainees. Aziz Mamiyev, an activist of the Musavat party, one of the participants in the action, was sentenced by a court to 30 days of administrative arrest.

On July 1 this year, the country's authorities closed the land borders to Turkey and Iran.

Prior to this (since March 2020), land borders with Russia and Georgia were closed. This has created serious problems for the majority of citizens who, in case of an urgent need to travel to neighboring countries, cannot fly by plane, since air tickets are very expensive. In addition, for many residents of the country, cross-border trade is a means of subsistence.

Government critics believe that the closure of the country's land borders is devoid of any logic and is absurd, since all restrictions and bans in connection with the coronavirus pandemic have been lifted and flights abroad by planes are allowed.

Seymour Hazi, Deputy Chairman of the PFPA, talks about yesterday's action in the "Difficult Question" program.

According to him, the protest action achieved its goal. At the same time, about 40 participants of the action were detained, including 30 members of the PFPA, 8 members of Musavat and other organizations. Also, about 10 non-party citizens were detained. “Such a number of detainees suggests that more than 100 people took part in the action. This number of participants is more than enough for a picket. Therefore, I consider yesterday's action a success,” he said.

According to Hazi, the dispersal of a peaceful protest is a gross violation of the constitutional freedoms of citizens.

“People have the right to peaceful protest and this is guaranteed by the Constitution. The provision of the Constitution on freedom of assembly has a direct effect, and no official, no structure can restrict it without reasonable explanations.

“The pandemic, cited as a reason for the Executive Branch to ban the action, does not stand up to scrutiny, since restrictions on mass gatherings have already been lifted,” Hazi said.

According to him, there is still a certain difference between how the police acted during yesterday's action and how they acted before.

“The police, of course, have not lost their “skills” at all. However, certain processes are taking place in the world and Azerbaijan is not aloof from these processes. And while the government wants to demonstrate that it follows in line with these processes. Nothing more,” the oppositionist suggests.—0---

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