On the arrest of at least 100 demonstrators in Baku, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, Markus Löning, said today (4 April):
“In the strongest possible terms I condemn the repeated arrests of peaceful demonstrators in Baku. The actions of the authorities show that the country’s leadership obviously fears criticism of the conditions in Azerbaijan.
I call on the leadership of Azerbaijan to release all detainees immediately and to guarantee the right to freedom of opinion and assembly. Azerbaijan committed itself to this when it joined the Council of Europe.”
Several hundred supporters of the opposition gathered in Baku’s central square on 2 April. The city administration had repeatedly refused to grant permission for the demonstration, although the location applied for had been agreed on beforehand with the OSCE’s mediation in Baku.
A large body of police and security forces prevented more people from joining the demonstration.
Already in the days before 2 April, many members of the opposition had been briefly arrested, questioned, and sometimes given jail sentences of several days.