09 September 2003, 23:36

Opposition members scuffled with police in Baku

Members of Azerbaijan's opposition Popular Front Party clashed with police in Baku on Monday.

According to a police source, the scuffle was "provoked by the Front members".

Two of the Front members were arrested during the fight, which occurred in front of the Baku police headquarters, but were shortly released, the source reported too.

Front spokesman Isak Avezoglu told in his turn that the fight had broken out after Front Deputy Chairman Fuad Mustafayev had arrived at the police headquarters to provide evidence on a Saturday incident that occurred during a television debate of presidential contenders on September 6.

Police made several futile attempts to persuade Front members and journalists waiting for Mustafayev to leave and then decided to disperse the crowd. According to Avezoglu, several people received minor injuries.

A police source said those who had been waiting outside the headquarters had "refused to carry out the demands of the police, who were saying that waiting was senseless and illegal."

Mustafayev, who represented presidential candidate Ali Kerimli in the television debate, wrangled with candidate Khafiz Gadzhiyev. After an exchange of insults, he threw a glass at Gadzhiyev.

A senior police officer told the Agency on Saturday that Mustafayev had been charged with malicious hooliganism.

Source: Interfax News Agency

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