Dozens of protesters were arrested in Baku the capital of Azerbaijan in a protest against alleged abuse in the country’s army. About 500 people many of whom were young opposition activists shouted, “No to deaths in the army,” while others held up portraits of dead soldiers.
The police wielding batons were swift to quell the protest which was not sanctioned by the authorities, firing water cannon and rubber bullets into the crowd.
The protest was one of a series triggered by the death of conscript, Jeyhun Gubadov at a barracks in early January. Initially the Defence Ministry said he died of a heart attack. His family believe he was beaten to death and four soldiers were arrested after an investigation was opened.
A local watchdog group the “Doctrine” Journalists’ Military Research Centre which investigates events and process in the military and defence sector in Azerbaijan claims around 77 soldiers died last year in non-combat related deaths.