Our Analytics 17 january — 14:01

Why did authorities allow opposition rally? (From a series of unanswered questions)

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BY EYNULLA FATULLAYEV

Thousands of citizens, taking advantage of their holy and inviolable right to freedom of assembly came out to protest. The crowd, blocking the highway on Neftchilar Avenue, stopped traffic on one of the central avenues of Baku. Police and internal troops called for the protesters to free up the central road leading to the Presidential Administration, disperse and obey the law. The demonstrators refused. Police brutally dispersed the rally before the protesters decided to move toward Azadlig Square.

The next day, Azerbaijani Interior Minister Ramil Usubov summed up the results of the illegal rally of the protesting opposition: about 10,000 people took part in it, and over two hundred people were arrested throughout the country.

Digression

Now imagine the reaction of the world community to such events in Azerbaijan! The European Parliament will announce the holding of an extraordinary meeting on the adoption of a special resolution on the bloody suppression of the protest of the masses in Baku. The secretary general of the Council of Europe will make a special appeal to the world community. Amnesty International will instantly, without special investigation, announce the detainees as prisoners of conscience. And 'Reporters Without Borders' headquartered in Paris will definitely emphasise the violation of the rights of journalists covering the action. The ambassadors of the EU countries and the USA accredited in Baku will demand a meeting with the president. And the world's leading media will publish news with screaming headlines: 'Despotic power' (Washington Post), 'Dictatorship drowned people in blood' (Guardian), 'The world should stop the authorities of Azerbaijan' (Le Monde)...

Does anyone doubt the above-mentioned reaction of the democratic community?

And now from myth to reality

And now let's dispel the terrible illusions, and let's face the truth. 300 thousand protesters took to the streets of Paris, one was killed in clashes with the police, two thousand activists were arrested. Thousands of citizens took to the streets of Paris, not Baku. And the protesters, dissatisfied with the increase in fuel prices, blocked Charles de Gaulle Avenue, not Neftchilar. And they wanted to break through not to Freedom Square, but to Concord Square. And not Ramil Usubov, but Christophe Castaner reported on the conducted special operation against his citizens. And the protesters did not demand the resignation of President Ilham Aliyev, but of President Emanuel Macron.

How did the world respond to the bloodshed in Paris?

The democratic world took the bloodshed in Paris in silence, without protests, maxims and moralising. As a matter of course. The democratic public reacted with understanding to the crackdown on the illegal protest action, supporting the determination of the French authorities, which infringed upon the defeated citizens, who merely exercised their constitutional right to freedom of expression. The European Parliament, PACE, Amnesty International, Reporters Without Borders and other liberal tinsel reacted to the brutal suppression of popular indignation in the same way as during the inhuman jamming of critical voices in Frankfurt, Ferguson, Athens... And the French authorities began a witch hunt, and began to look for an outside enemy, the organiser of destabilisation of the situation. And, of course, they found. So it was Russia! It’s good that there is Russia in the world, to which all crimes against democracy and universal human values can be attributed.

If Yeltsin were still in power in Russia, the French government would certainly find another external enemy. Why not Iran? Or ISIL? And even China with Pakistan.

The logic of modern European democracy is very banal and just as primitive, but quite straightforward and simple: 'we can do anything, but you can't!' Our protesters, they say, are the fifth column and the hirelings paid for by the Putin regime, and yours are selfless, heroic fighters against absolutism, the creators of a new history.

It's only the beginning

On January 19, the yellow vests born of the new social revolution are preparing a new protest. A priori, the French authorities have announced the upcoming protest action of tens of thousands of its citizens illegal designed to undermine the systemic stability in the country. The central French media, as if dictated, are defaming the emerging new popular movement.

But on January 19 in Azerbaijan, the authorities allowed a non-systemic opposition to hold a protest rally in defence of convicted blogger Mehman Huseynov. Moreover, the authorities advised the opposition to gather their supporters at the immense Mahsul stadium. Every time, the opposition claims that tens of thousands of protesters are gathering at this stadium. But the photo reports clearly show that the opposition manages to fill only a small patch in front of the podium with its supporters. Either the stadium is immense, or the opposition has too few supporters. And from this stadium to the Azerbaijani 'Champs Elysees' there is just 15 minutes walk. But what if the opposition rushes to the Baku 'Champs Elysees'? But the reasonable and sober authorities are self-confident.

Now I want to ask: why does the Western world place Azerbaijan among despotic countries and put this state on a par with Eritrea and Iran, and France is considered one of the most liberal and democratic countries in the world? Who can explain and resolve this logical dilemma?

Does it mean that France can look for an external enemy, and categorically accuse Russia of organising riots, but Azerbaijan cannot point to Soros and other external centres? There it is called an investigation, and her a witch hunt? So, France can cripple, imprison and expel protesters with impunity, while occupying an honourable place among the selected liberal countries, while Azerbaijan has no right to ask Soros and his institutions about the true intentions of those forces which are trying to undermine stability by receiving the Open Society Institute grants? There it is called legality, and here - repression?

What to do, if the Azerbaijani authorities are completely self-confident, just as they are confident of the impotence of the opposition National Council. And is the government guilty of the fact that opposition rallies are a pitiful sight, the standard crowd of marginals, which does not attract the attention of the majority of the society? Is the government to blame for the fact that the opposition discredits itself and Soros in the eyes of the people who are alienated from politics?

During rallies, the authorities, just like in France, Germany, Greece, conduct open video surveillance of rank-and-file of the opposition members, identify the protesters, take appropriate measures against the rally participants, if necessary, identify their personalities and take appropriate measures... But is it really a bigger fault than severe beatings and mass arrests of protesters? Like in France, Greece, Germany... Questions, questions, questions. The same questions. Our unanswered questions...

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