Mumblings and Grumblings
As the Revolt Index was revealed a week ago, and the Azerbaijani government has been moving to appease their population, rumbles of protests started popping up from opposition within the country. Stepping into the area of “too political for a Peace Corps Volunteer to write about”, I just thought you should know that it looks like there are protests planned for March 11th on both the pro-government and pro-opposition sides. Recently, there has been a growth of Facebook organization by folks looking to protest in Baku. That has been followed by activities by the government seen as attempts to stifle internal dissent. This includes the arrest of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev, which has received some extra media attention.
Subdivisions of the country’s internal forces have begun training exercises, according to an informed unofficial source. The unscheduled exercises are directly related to the intentions of the opposition and the youth to hold a protest rally on March 11, the source reported.
Previously the authorities had already reacted to the calls from young people to protest, demanding the resignation of the government; several activists have been arrested, and pro-government media has launched criticism against social networking. Simultaneously, the government launched a campaign against corruption under the guise of fight against this evil, and a few minor officials were arrested.
It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few days as the pro-government and pro-opposition movements edge towards March 11th. In the meantime, you can take a look at the recent statement put out by the US Embassy in Baku regarding the arrest of Bakhtiyar Hajiyev. I haven’t found an English version of this story. The best I can do is that Azeri news report and this blog post with the statement in English. Nothing on the US Embassy’s website yet, either. Until I can find confirmation of the US Embassy’s statement, those last two links remain unconfirmed.