An unsanctioned rally to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March was dispersed by police after a group of women had met to raise awareness of women’s rights. Authorities had announced earlier during the week that permission to hold such a march was denied, and that police would prevent illegal gatherings.
Following a call on social media to protest against domestic violence and gender inequality, a group of women met at the ‘Statue of a Liberated Woman’ in Baku’s city center, close to Nizami metro station. They intended to march to the statue of poet Khurshidbanu Natavan, a 20-minute walk away.
Police officers who had been at the site since noon, two hours before the scheduled start of the rally, blocked access to the monument. A few dozen women were chanting and shouting slogans before eventually being pushed towards the Nizami metro station and dispersed by police.
Protesters were also attacked by what they
described as a group of aggressive elderly women.
Video footage from the scene
shows a reporter being hit and pushed around, without police intervening. Participants of the march and rights activists
the attack was orchestrated by authorities.