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Azerbaijani police violently disperse post-election protest

EPA-EFE/VALDRIN XHEMAJ
Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev waves on the podium after the 2019 Formula One Grand Prix of Azerbaijan at the Baku City Circuit in Baku, Azerbaijan, 28 April 2019.

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Azerbaijani police have violently dispersed protests following contested parliamentary elections in the country.
Last week, the country started a snap election in an effort to renew its dissolved National Assembly. Azerbaijan’s long-term president Ilham Aliyev and his ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) won a majority of seats in the election. The elections were boycotted by the opposition, who blames Aliyev and YAP for the country’s economic slowdown.
Critics say Aliyev is seeking a way to stay in power. His father, a Soviet-era KGB leader, passed the presidency to his son. The opposition has accused the governing party of holding the vote in unfair conditions. It has also accused it of attempting to replace old discredited elites with younger candidates.
Protesters gathered in front of the office of the Central Election Commission in Baku, demanding that the results be annulled after independent observers registered cheating, including ballot-stuffing and multiple voting.
“We are protesting total fraud in the country, fraud in the elections”, Rabiyya Mammadova, one of the candidates, said in an interview.
The authorities considered the protest unauthorized, and arrested many of the participants. Several were beaten by the police and sustained injuries. Police later forced all of the protesters on to buses. They were driven around for two hours before being freed on remote locations.

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