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200 Arrested in Azerbaijan Protests

Add Azerbaijan to the list of governments that are cracking down on demonstrations by the unhappy masses. In the capital of Baku, 200 protesters were arrested Saturday as the government moved to stifle a “Day of Rage” among citizens. –JCL

Los Angeles Times:

Azeri police arrested at least 10 more anti-government activists on Thursday and Friday in what appears to have been an effort to thwart an anti-government rally Saturday, dubbed Day of Rage on Facebook and other social networking sites.

The activists were “quickly convicted in summary trials on charges of disobeying police orders and sentenced to administrative — or misdemeanor — detention ranging from five to 13 days, which would keep them locked up beyond the protest date,” according to a Human Rights Watch statement released Friday.

“It is clear that the authorities are determined to crush any attempts by opposition activists to gather peacefully,” said Rachel Denber, acting director of the Europe and Central Asia Division at Human Rights Watch, in the statement.

Roughly 1,000 people convened at Fountains Square Saturday morning, shouting “Resign” and “No to the dictatorship!” before riot police broke up the crowd, pushing protesters onto awaiting buses, said Azeri blogger Amar Masimov, 22, during a phone interview. Authorities said the protesters had not received proper permission from the government to hold a public rally Saturday, according to Reuters.

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