Closure of Retail Stores in Metro Sparks Protest

On Tuesday March 11, 500 retailers carried out a protest in front of the Department of Baku Metro. At the end of the protest that lasted more than an hour, it became clear that the newly appointed head of the Metro Zaur Hasanov’s decision to shut down the shops in the metro stations is final. The closures will start from Koroghlu metro station. The protesters were disturbed by the news that the shopping facilities – the only income source for many of them, would be demolished starting 6 p.m. on Tuesday. One of the protesters told to Meydan TV that Koroghlu station only has 200 shops where around 1200-1500 people earn their living. Protesters with bank debts under their belt asked to leave the Metro stations only after liquidating their goods and returning their debts. They claim to have bought those facilities, or having payed monthly rent of around AZN 150-500.

In order to disperse the protest police officers from different districts, as well as around 15 patrol cars were mobilized. Three protesters were detained.

According to the latest reports protesters were able to meet with the Metro officials. The final agreement was to sign one-, three- and six-month contracts with the shop owners for the latter to liquidate their goods as the main condition. Our correspondent has contacted the spokesperson of the Baku Metro, Nazakat Tarverdiyeva. Ms. Tarverdiyeva mentioned that the final decision on shopping facilities has been made and is to be announced later.

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