Azerbaijani Protests Not For Cities

Officials allow demonstrations in the suburbs, but not downtown


Once again, the Azerbaijani government has made it clear that political dissent is not a downtown kind of thing. But if the discontented don't like the suburban life—watch out.

Baku officials allowed opposition protesters on October 20 to rally in the city outskirts against corruption in parliament, which most definitely is not located in the suburbs. But the protesters, who organized the rally via Facebook, then took a ride downtown.

The scene that followed has become old hat for Baku: policemen chasing fleeing demonstrators with a hunter's zeal, and scores of protesters hustled into police vehicles. Video and photo reports showed a woman who apparently had fainted, and four cops dragging a struggling man by his feet and hands.