The two main opposition parties in Azerbaijan, Musavat and National Council of Democratic Forces (NCDF), organized a protest in the capital city of Baku on Saturday, March 31. Demonstrators marched through the streets, demanding that the government released political prisoners and hold free elections. Further protests are possible in the days leading up to the April 11 presidential election.
Opposition supporters claim that President Ilham Aliyev and his government frequently jail journalist, human rights activists, and political opponents on trumped-up charges to silence dissent. Both Musavat and the NCDF are boycotting the April 11 election, accusing Aliyev of moving up the vote from October 17 to prevent the opposition from properly preparing for the vote. Aliyev will be running for his fourth term since coming to power in 2003 following his father's presidency. No other candidates have announced their intention to run as of March 31.
Individuals in Azerbaijan are advised to keep abreast of the situation and avoid all protests as a precaution.
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