Baku police disperse rally on International Women’s Day
An unsanctioned rally to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March was dispersed by police after a group of women had met to raise awareness of women’s rights. Authorities had announced earlier during the week that permission to hold such a march was denied, and that police would prevent illegal gatherings.
Following a call on social media to protest against domestic violence and gender inequality, a group of women met at the ‘Statue of a Liberated Woman’ in Baku’s city center, close to Nizami metro station. They intended to march to the statue of poet Khurshidbanu Natavan, a 20-minute walk away.
Police officers who had been at the site since noon, two hours before the scheduled start of the rally, blocked access to the monument. A few dozen women were chanting and shouting slogans before eventually being pushed towards the Nizami metro station and dispersed by police.
Protesters were also attacked by what they reportedly described as a group of aggressive elderly women. Video footage from the scene shows a reporter being hit and pushed around, without police intervening. Participants of the march and rights activists believe the attack was orchestrated by authorities.
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