23 September 2003, 12:32

Mass clashes in Baku

Mass clashes occurred in downtown Baku on September 21 between supporters of the "Musavat" party leader Isa Gambar running for presidency and police. The incident sparked several minutes before Gambar's meeting with voters.

More than one thousand residents of the Nizaminsky district in Baku gathered at the "Tavriz" cinema for a meeting with the opposition "Musavat" party leader. With just a few minutes before the start of the meeting, a group of women came up to the movie theatre chanting slogans against Gambar. A verbal skirmish ensued between Gambar's supporters and the women. Police and several plainclothes men then intervened, beating up oppositionists, including women and the elderly.

People inside the movie theatre could not leave it because police were blocking the doors. Oppositionists who were still outside attempted to seal the streets leading to "Tavriz" but police broke up the crowd. Panakh Guseinov, a leader of the Khalg Partiiasy party (People's Party), was severely beaten when he appeared from the building.

Guseinov had his arm broken, the party's press service told the correspondent. Altogether over 70 people received injuries and bruises, including "Musavat" deputy chairman Vurgun Aiyub, Gambar's aide Shirzad Mamedli and other party's functionaries.

The clashes, which lasted nearly two hours, were witnessed by OSCE representatives. The "Musavat" party called the incident a barbaric act against the opposition.

Source: Prima News Agency

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