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Azerbaijani Police Break Up Opposition Rally in Baku


Azerbaijani police have broken up an opposition rally in Baku demanding an end to government pressure on the country's independent news media.

At least 60 activists of Azerbaijan's Popular Front sought to gather for the protest near the offices of the country's president. Police met them as they emerged from a subway station and attempted to force them back down the stairs. The protesters regrouped several times, clashing with authorities. Officers detained at least four people.

Authorities have been increasing pressure in independent media outlets and have threatened to evict the opposition newspaper Azadlig from its premises.

Journalists and opposition activists have been conducting a hunger strike in the newspaper's offices to protest what they call "the government's undeclared war on the free press."

Azerbaijan has a checkered history regarding freedom of the press. A court Thursday authorized the two-month detention of two journalists as authorities investigate their newspaper on charges of insulting the Muslim prophet Muhammad.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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