Friday Wrap-up: protest against an artificial lake causes national turmoil

Illustration: Meydan TV

The week of June 19-23 saw a village protest and its aftermath.

Villagers of Gadabay District start a protest against artificial lake

Residents of Oyudlu village are protesting against constructing a second artificial lake intended for dumping gold mine waste. They are concerned about the hazardous chemicals that will be present in the lake and the detrimental effects on their health and livelihoods.

The peaceful protest was met with violent repression from the authorities, with videos of police aggression circulating on social media. In one of them, which caused an online outcry, a policeman is seeing pepper spraying an elderly woman.

Calls for justice and accountability have emerged, along with demands for the release of arrested villagers and an end to the construction of the controversial reservoir. As a result of the protests, that started on June 20, the police are controlling the access roads to the village and limiting entry to registered residents only. It is possible to enter only with an ID card and those without registration are not allowed in the village.

Journalists encountered police violence while covering the rally, and villagers detained

Journalists and a blogger in Soyudlu village faced police violence, with one journalist reporting that a policeman twisted a woman’s arm and forcefully detained them.

The journalists were accused of filming illegally and faced rude treatment from the police, who also made derogatory comments about their work. “I was talking on the phone, a car pulled up behind me, two plain clothes, and a policeman got out. They took my phone and took my photos. They said that you filmed here illegally, you shouldn’t have entered the village”, tells Nigar Mubariz to Meydan TV.

Beyond that, several villagers were arrested during the protests, with some receiving prison sentences and fines. Concerns were raised about the lack of communication and access to the detained individuals, as gifts brought for them to the police station were returned.

Journalists and activists face consequences after reporting on protests in Gadabay Village

Journalist Elmeddin Shamilzade received a call from the State Service for Mobilization and Conscription, requesting him to submit a document regarding his university studies, otherwise, he would be conscripted. He suspects that the call is related to his posts on social media about the police beating villagers in Soyudlu village, which gained attention.

Political activist Giyas Ibrahim was detained from his home in the presence of the district attorney. The authorities demanded that he delete a status he shared on social media about the events in Soyudlu village. When they couldn’t find his phone, they handcuffed him and took him to the unit. His mother states that he is being taken to court.

NIDA Youth Movement activist Elmir Abbasov was also detained and subsequently sentenced to 20 days in prison for disobeying a police order. Although the Ministry of Internal Affairs stated that his detention was due to a violation of public order, protesters believe it was because of his strong criticism of the police’s actions during the protests in Soyudlu village.

ГлавнаяFeaturedFriday Wrap-up: protest against an artificial lake causes national turmoil