Monday, April 18, 2011

Young girl detained by police for shouting 'freedom' at rally

A terrified little girl was among 65 people detained by police at a pro-democracy rally in Baku, Azerbaijan, yesterday.

The young girl was wrenched away from her mother and bundled into a police van after she shouted "freedom" during the protest against President Ilham Aliyev.

Eye-witnesses said the girl's mother was also arrested, as were two Swedish journalists.

The rally, which had been banned, was the latest attempt by the opposition in the oil-producing ex-Soviet republic to emulate uprisings across the Middle East and north Africa.

Small protests over the past several weeks have been given short shrift by authorities, with more than 100 people being detained in April and March.

Sandwiched between Russia, Iran and Turkey, Azerbaijan is an energy supplier to Europe and a transit route for US troops in Afghanistan.

- Lada Yevgrashina in Baku

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