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Another street sweeper hit by a car?

On 15 April, an 82-year-old woman was hit by a car in Baku, possibly becoming the latest street sweeper to fall victim to a traffic accident.

Around 12:00 pm on Sunday, an elderly woman was hit by a car on Ataturk Avenue. Photos of the incident quickly spread on social media. Facebook user Muhammed Ibadli writes that the woman was wearing the uniform of a street sweeper, but authorities attempted to cover it up: “Witnesses say that the woman’s uniform was quickly removed so that she wouldn’t be recognized as a street sweeper, but instead recorded as an ordinary civilian.”

Several street sweepers are killed every year in Baku. The most recent incident occurred on 27 March this year, when street sweeper Jamila Salahova was killed on the job by a truck.

Authorities have been criticized by social media users in Azerbaijan because most street sweepers are elderly women, who are forced to work in heavy traffic without any safety measures to make ends meet. Following Salahova’s death, authorities issued reflective vests to street sweepers, a solution which many have criticized as insufficient.

"People who have reached the age of 65 ought to receive a decent pension,” economist and former MP Nazim Baydamirli told Meydan TV. “The people who do this work receive an average monthly pension of 130-140 manats [about $80]."

According to the Ministry of Health, the victim of Sunday's incident is an 82-year-old woman from Aghsu and is being treated at the hospital for her injuries. The Ministry expressed doubt about the rumors that the woman had been a street sweeper.

“The job of Emergency Medical Assistance is not to take anyone’s clothes,” a Ministry representative told Meydan TV. “If such a thing actually occurred, our employees know nothing about it.”

A source at the Emergency Medical Assistance Center told Meydan TV that, according to witnesses, the victim sold pickled vegetables at the bazaar.

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