Police attack protesters in Azerbaijani capital
By wire services
Published November 27, 2005
BAKU, Azerbaijan - Police used nightsticks and water cannons Saturday to beat back and disperse opposition protesters demanding a redo of disputed parliamentary elections, the first use of force against demonstrators since the vote.
Some 15,000 opposition activists gathered in Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, to protest Nov. 6 parliamentary elections they claimed were rigged. It was the latest of such demonstrations in recent weeks.
The U.S. Embassy in Baku strongly condemned the police violence.
Baku's deputy police chief, Yashar Aliev, said 18 officers were injured in the clash with the protesters and that police detained 29 people. Opposition leaders said scores of protesters were beaten and many badly injured.
International observers criticized the Nov. 6 polls, saying they fell below democratic standards. But Western countries concerned about maintaining stability in the oil-rich Caspian Sea state bordering Iran have not endorsed opposition demands for repeat elections.Tropical storm weakens further in open Atlantic
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The election has divided the main opposition party, threatening to destroy the only group to have seriously challenged Mugabe's 25-year rule.
State radio and independent observers reported a low turnout countrywide but did not specify figures. The radio said polls closed on schedule at 7 p.m. with no reports of political violence or intimidation during the day.Outlawed political group continues streak in Egypt
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