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Azerbaijani police allow women’s march to go ahead

8 March 2022
A demonstration in Baku on International Women's Day. Photo: Meydan TV.

Azerbaijani police did not prevent a march by women’s rights activists in Baku, breaking from their actions in recent years.

On 8 March, International Women’s Day, the Azerbaijani Feminist Movement organised a demonstration in Fountain Square, in the center of Baku.

Several dozen people gathered at Fountain Square said that complaints of violence against women in Azerbaijan were not properly investigated by law enforcement agencies, and that the police advised victims of domestic abuse to reconcile with their husbands and return home.

Protesters shouted ‘Reconcile, investigate’, ‘Violence has no right!’, ‘Women unite, there is no silence, there is rebellion!’, and other slogans.

The protest was announced on social media several days in advance, and a large number of police forces were present. However, they did not interfere in the demonstration as in previous years. 

Last year, at least 25 people were detained, when police moved in to violently disburse the small women’s day march as soon as it began.

This year, protest leaders read out a statement of the action before disbursing.

Photo: Alakbar Azayev / Mikroskop Media
Photo: Alakbar Azayev / Mikroskop Media
Photo: Alakbar Azayev / Mikroskop Media

The statement said that effective measures should be taken to prevent violence and killings against women.

‘The Istanbul Convention must be adopted […] Everyone should have equal rights, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.’

Interior Ministry spokesperson Elshad Hajiyev said in a statement after the demonstration that ‘the rally organised by a group of women in the centre of the capital ended with exceptional security. No one was detained.’