who are bombarded with debris by Baku residents, the police are returning sharply

The muscular arrest of a man, June 7, at the bottom of his building in Baku, because he had not respected jail while taking out his junk, triggered a strong reaction from his neighbors, who threw … their junk on the police. The police added shortly thereafter by arresting several people in this area of ​​the Azerbaijani capital and boasting about it on social media. Nothing surprising in this “police state” as our observer calls it.The swallowing of Azerbaijan first began on June 4, and it is organized in a rather specific way: the residents only have to stay at home on the weekends. The restrictions are very strict: except for some officials and some police officers, it is strictly forbidden to go home and shop for the last two days of the week.

During the first containment weekend, Sunday, June 7, a man dared to take out his garbage at the bottom of his building in the Yasamal district of Baku, the capital. Four police officers were there and arrested him when he was half naked and put him in their car. This muscular intervention was not filmed and lost on the neighbors, who responded by shooting police with debris. On social media, videos from this incident are shared under the term “garbage surgery”.

“Video of the residents’ arrest and reaction, published June 7 on TikTok”

“They wanted to scare us, they succeeded, but they get even more hatred from us. “

Najia (pseudonym) resides in the neighborhood, she participated in the arrest:

“The man you see in the videos is Tunjay, my neighbor. As soon as I heard the racket outside, I went to my balcony and I saw the police beat him and force him into the car. People threw their junk at them and insulted them. They shouted: “you’re not ashamed”, “imbeciles”, “enough” …

This second video, published on Facebook, shows the event from a different angle.

The officers who arrested Tunjay left the area quickly, but a few hours later returned. They went directly to the union in a building. They asked him to give the names of those who trashed and then went to each apartment and wrote down all the residents’ names, insulted them and threatened them with reprisals … We thought it would stay there. But the next day, at 6pm, we saw a special police officer arrive in the neighborhood, and there were many of them. They arrested eleven people who were on the lists prepared the day before. They took them out of their house, sometimes half naked.

“Videos published by residents, showing the large police detention and arrest of several residents”

The police were also seen filming the operation and later these videos were published on their social media pages.

Our neighborhood is a poor neighborhood, most people here do not work full time. We are traumatized by what happened, especially the children: my son is still afraid to go out today, even though the calm has returned. What happened is a pity for the government. The police who forcefully enter the apartments force people to go half naked, in front of their children …. They wanted to scare us, they succeeded, but all they gather is even more hatred on our part.

In a statement released on June 8, the Azerbaijani police said: “During this intervention, 11 people were identified who threw various objects at the police. They were taken into custody. An investigation is underway to legally assess their actions.

Karim Sulleymanli, one of the eleven prisoners released the same day, said in local media that he had been hit “like an animal” for five hours.

“This is the first time I’ve seen people react to the police like this”

Ilkin Rustamzadeh is Azerbaijan’s human rights activist in Baku. He spent six years in prison for organizing a satirical flash mob in 2013.

When the government announced total containment, a decree gave the police even more freedom to arrest people who did not respect him, but they abused it, and this led to arrests of opponents and activists.Police violence is common in Azerbaijan, but this incident is quite significant. First because it triggered a reaction from people, and also because people filmed what happened to show just how righteous violence was. This is the first time I have seen anything like it in our country.

Series of videos of the arrests published by local media.

Our country is a police state, and people have humiliated the police with rubbish jets. So the police wanted to show the muscles that they were not the type to lose control of the country. Here we want the police to be seen as a great power that we, the citizens, cannot overcome to change the regime.

“This video was filmed and released by the Azerbaijani police on June 8 during reprisals.”

The police have become motionless. Every day, many Azerbaijanis suffer from police violence, and there is nothing we can do. If you complain, if you report, if you sue, you expose yourself to even more violence. There have been cases protesting against this police violence, but no officer has ever been charged. Only people with connections to the government or the police can do something about this violence.

Abuse, violence and impunity from the police in Azerbaijan criticized by several human rights organizations.

In a 2019 report, NGO Amnesty International wrote about Azerbaijan: “The repression of freedom of speech has increased, especially after the revelation of large-scale corruption in the political world. Several news organizations have been banned and their owners arrested. […] Several deaths in suspicious circumstances were not investigated at the end of the year. “

Article written by Ershad Alijani (@ErshadAlijani)

Article written in collaboration with