HUNDREDS GATHER IN AZERBAIJAN’S CAPITAL IN SOCIAL MEDIA-ORGANIZED PROTEST OVER SOLDIER’S DEATH
Turxan Kerimli/Associated Press – Demonstrators carry portraits of
Jeyhun Gubabov, who authorities say died of heart failure during a
rally in downtown Baku, Azerbaijan, Saturday Jan. 12, 2012. Several
hundred people have rallied in the center of Azerbaijan’s capital in
a social media-organized gathering in protest at the death earlier
this month of the military conscript. Gubabovi’s mother says he was
the victim of physical mistreatment.
BAKU, Azerbaijan – Several hundred people rallied Saturday in the
center of Azerbaijan’s capital in protest at the death earlier this
month of military conscript.
Many participants at the rally, which was organized through social
media, held up photos of 18-year-old Jeyhun Gubadov, who authorities
say died of heart failure. Gubadov’s mother says he was the victim
of physical mistreatment.
Police ordered demonstrators to disperse and later forcibly broke up
the gathering. Officials say several people were detained, but gave
no specific number.
Anti-government rallies take place from time to time in the oil-rich
former Soviet nation, and the meetings are almost always immediately
broken up by police. Unusually, this meeting was organized entirely on
online social media and involved none of the country’s few embattled
Most of those involved in the rally were young people and soldiers’
In apparent recognition of the public indignation provoked by the
Gubadov case, Defense Ministry officials said two people have been
arrested and several high-ranking military officials punished over
Protests are as a rule paid scant notice in state media, but this
rally did earn some coverage and official comment.
Mubariz Gurbanly, a leading parliamentary deputy in the ruling Yeni
Azerbaijan party, told the APA state news agency that the voice of
protesters had been heard. He warned against individuals with their
own political agendas taking advantage of public outrage, however.
Authorities are wary of any signs of public dissent, particularly
in view of this October’s presidential election, which is expected
to see incumbent Ilham Aliyev easily retain his iron grip over the
Caspian Sea nation.