Baku Protesters Demand Free Vote

By Greg Walters

BAKU–Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Baku–the capital of Azerbaijan–on Sunday–demanding a free vote in November’s parliamentary elections–and raising the possibility of another velvet revolution in the former Soviet country.

Demonstrators waved orange flags in an echo of last winter’s Orange Revolution in Ukraine; several protesters said they were prepared to mount a similar campaign of peaceful resistance if elections were deemed fraudulent.

Sunday’s protest appeared to be the largest this summer. Internews–a media support non-governmental organization–estimated that the crowd numbered in excess of 25,000.

Though at least 200 riot police stood by–there were no immediate reports of arrests. Anti-government demonstrations have been held in Baku almost every week for over a month and some have been violently dispersed.

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