Azerbaijani police break up pro-media rally

November 16, 2006 17:22

Azerbaijani police on Thursday broke up an opposition rally demanding an end to pressure on independent media, and said they had detained at least four activists. About 60 activists from the Popular Front of Azerbaijan gathered at a central subway entrance in the capital, Baku, and shouted "Freedom!" Police tried to push them into the subway, but the activists managed to disperse and regroup several times, each time shouting slogans. "We stand against the purposeful, biased pressure on the free media, on the newspaper Azadliq (Freedom), and we see this as an attempt to destroy independent media in the country," Popular Front spokesman Isak Avazogly said. The 9,000-circulation Azadliq - Azerbaijan's most popular opposition paper - has been threatened with eviction after a government property committee demanded thousands of dollars (euros) in back rent for its editorial offices. The Popular Front, which has offices in the same building, also faces eviction.

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