Sunday, June 19, 2005

Another Opposition Rally in Baku

AP reports that the opposition in Azerbaijan have staged another rally in Baku, the capital. According this report, the rally was huge at aproximately 20,000 people and organized by three opposition parties getting ready to contest the November Parliamentary Elections. Interestingly, following the example of Ukraine, the demonstrators all wore orange.
The opposition bloc has chosen orange as its campaign color - the color that was also used by the Ukrainian opposition during mass protests dubbed "Orange Revolution'' that helped pave way for the victory of a Western-backed candidate over a Russia-backed rival.

Many participants in Saturday's rally wore orange T-shirts and baseball caps and carried orange flags.
Well, it's not a revolution but rather the opposition demanding that in the wake of Georgia and Ukraine, the elections are free, fair and transparent. There were again some minor skirmishes when protestors tried to disperse riot police (now that's a turn up) in Liberty Square but so far at least, no reports of the kind of tactics we saw during the 2003 Presidential Elections in Armenia or when the opposition took to the streets here last Spring.

Obviously, after a wave of "revolutions" and George Bush's high profile visit to the Republic of Georgia last month, it will be interesting to see what develops. Can Azerbaijan hold better elections than it has and if it doesn't, will interests in its oil result in the US, in particular, looking away. So far at least, the US Embassy in Baku has shown itself to be on the ball.

The full article can be read online here.

Incidentally, The BBC also covers the story and talks of a "sea of orange flags and T-shirts" in Baku. In the photo accompanying the piece, however, I can see just two orange balloons and one orange flag so I either the photo is out of their archive or they need to hire a new photo editor.

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