Protesters call for Azeri government to resign over Karabakh crisis
The rally, organised by opposition parties, adopted a resolution calling on the Azeri government to halt talks with Armenia over the enclave and stop working with international peace mediators.
"The Azeri people no longer have faith in those who abandoned Karabakh," Tair Kirimli, leader of the Namuz party told the crowd.
According to witnesses, the protesters numbered about 1,300 and there were no clashes with the approximately 100 police officers monitoring the demonstration, in the Azeri capital, Baku.
Unusually for Azerbaijan, a secular Muslim state, the protesters shouted "Allahu akhbar" or "God is greater", and more than half were wearing traditional Muslim dress.
Protesters' other demands included government action on unemployment, the release of political prisoners and a ban on beauty contests and films which "do not fit in with the national mentality."
Nagorno-Karabakh is within Azerbaijan's international borders but during a war in the early 1990s neighbouring Armenia effectively took control.
The Azeri government, led by President Heidar Aliyev, is in intermittent talks with Armenia to find a peaceful settlement but is under constant criticism from the opposition at home for not doing enough.
Copyright (c) 2002 Agence France-Presse
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 01/12/2002 06:26:43
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