News Alerts

16 Jul 2020 | 11:04 AM UTC

Azerbaijan: Tens of thousands of protesters gather in Baku July 16 /update 1

Azerbaijan News Alert

Tens of thousands of protesters gather in Baku July 16; further protests possible

TIMEFRAME expected from 7/15/2020, 11:00 PM until 7/18/2020, 10:59 PM (Asia/Baku). COUNTRY/REGION Baku

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Event

Police dispersed protesters who gathered in central Baku on Thursday, July 16, to demand the government deploy further military forces in response to cross-border clashes with Armenian forces in the Tovuz region. Some 50,000 demonstrators gathered in Azadliq Square with reports of more than 100 being arrested and multiple vehicles being set alight. Police subsequently deployed tear gas and water cannon to disperse the demonstrators once the crowd became violent and destructive. 

Further protests are likely in the near term. Associated disruptions to transportation and business are to be expected around demonstration sites.

Context

Azerbaijan and neighboring Armenia have a long-standing dispute over the possession of Nagorno-Karabakh, home to some 150,000 inhabitants (mostly ethnic Armenians) and located in the west of Azerbaijan. This issue has fueled tensions between the two countries since 1988; some 30,000 people were killed in fighting from 1990 to 1994. The two countries declared another ceasefire in April 2016 after the region experienced four days of violent clashes that left hundreds dead. Tensions between the two countries remain high and each side frequently accuses the other of violating the ceasefire agreement.

Renewed cross-border clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces broke out in the Tavush area on Sunday, July 12. At least 11 Azeri and four Armenian troops, in addition to an Azeri civilian, have been killed since fighting in the area began.

Advice

Those in Azerbaijan are advised to monitor developments, avoid all demonstrations and political gatherings as a precaution, and anticipate a heightened security presence and localized disruptions to transportation and business around protest sites.

 

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