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Azerbaijani Democracy 1918 movement shuts down citing government pressure

11 September 2023
Democracy 1918. Image via social media.

Democracy 1918, an Azerbaijani pro-democracy movement, has announced its intent to cease its activities citing continued government pressure against their members and a lack of resources.

Democracy 1918 announced that its congress voted on ceasing the movement’s activities on 10 September, stating that the ‘anti-democratic system’ in the country and the environment it created made political activity impossible.

‘Limited resources limit the possibility of an adequate response to make positive changes’, read the movement’s statement. ‘For all these reasons, the political goals and processes and organisation of any institution in the political scene are losing importance’.

‘We believe that after the objective and subjective reasons have matured, the organisations that will be the cause of political changes will emerge again’, concluded the statement.

The movement was founded in 2013 by political activist Ahmad Mammadli. Since its inception, Democracy 1918 has been engaged in political, student, and labour rights activism.

Mammadli told OC Media on Monday that he found political activity ‘senseless’ in Azerbaijan’s current political environment. 

‘There is no space for the emergence of an opponent of the Aliyev regime’, he said. ‘The government’s pressure, arrests, and atmosphere of fear against the members of the Democracy 1918 Movement is [the government’s] current approach to stop the activity of the movement’.

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Prominent members of the movement have been subjected to repeated detentions on charges they claim to be politically motivated. In August, Democracy 1918 members Afiaddin Mammadov, Aykhan Israfilov, and Elvin Mustafayev have all been placed under administrative arrest following their participation in protests organised by delivery couriers.

Mammadli says that the movement will continue some of its activities through public institutions established under Democracy 1918 such as the Student Desk and the Worker’s Table.

Read in Georgian on On.ge.