Saturday, January 16

Chronology of protests in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan consists of 60+ districts (which are also known as rayon); 11 cities; and 1 autonomous republic. 

Since January 11, several districts across Azerbaijan saw its residents take the streets in frustration of soaring unemployment and price hikes (with an exception of Sumgayit where residents and mostly owners of little shops protested authorities decision to demolish their properties without any compensation). 

Below is the chronology of events and the names of towns where uprisings took place:

January 11 
  • Sumgayt (Sumgayit district) Population 314,800 
January 12
  • Liman (city in Lankaran district) Approximately 14,000 people in the city out of total 209,900 
  • Siazan (Siazan district) Population 38,400 (police keeping "things under control" watch video here)
  • Aghcabedi (Aghjabadi district) Population 124,000
January 13 
  • Agsu (Agsu district) Population 72,100 
  • Fizuli (Fizuli district) Population 118,900  
  • Ujar (Ujar district) Population 79,800
January 14
Fearing the spill off, the government sends in troops to Sheki and Quba. In Sheki, Popular Front Party members are detained.
The 18% tax on wheat and bread cancelled.
January 15
  • Quba (Quba district) Population 155,600 All entrance and exits into the city are controlled by the police while people’s demands remain the same- jobs, prices and living conditions (watch video here - people are chanting "istefa" [Resign]).  
  • Zobcuq settlement (Fizuli district) 
January 16 
  • Aghcabedi 
  • Fizuli (can watch video sent by Fizuli resident here)
January 17 
  • Hovsan settlement in Baku
January 18
  • Employees at Bina shopping center didn't show up at work today [January 18] demanding drop in rents leaving the mall management without any customers.  
  • Jalilabad (Jalilabad district) Population 196,500 
  • Shaghaci village (Astara district)   
January 20 
  • In Ganja, online activists called into questioning as of January 17. According to AzadliqRadiosu, activists are told not to call for any protests and even stop "liking" any comments or other related posts 
January 21
  • a group of owners went on a strike at the market for car sales situated on Babak avenue in the capital of Baku. They demanded that the market management decreased rent prices given manat devalued almost by half in the past year. The management complied this time, decreasing prices by 10%
January 25
  • employees of Dashkasan Mining Factory came to the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection demanding their salaries of the past two years- the employees say they have not been paid for the past two years.   
  • also today a group of employees employed by AzerInshaat [construction company] gathered in front of the company headquarters demanding their unpaid salaries. Employees also protested last year October for the same reasons.  
January 26
  • two more banks bid farewell today: United Credit Bank and NBC Bank's license was revoked  
January 27
  • Two more banks lose their license in Azerbaijan: Caucasus Development Bank (Qafqaz Inkisaf Bank) and AtraBank 
January 28
  • ParaBank says it won't issue any more loans  
  • protests erupt in another town- Sumgayit. This time it were the shop owners at Karvan mall in Sumgayit. They were demanding that the mall management lowers the rents. They did by 30-50% however, they also said it's short term and will last for 3 months. 
***I took the population stats from here so apologies in advance if they are off.

The protest this time was against arrests carried out shortly after the first protest. Residents were demanding release of those arrested. 

Now, the government authorized total spending in the amount of AZN32billion for regions since 2004 as part of three different state programs:
and 2014-2018 

Where did the money go? Good question! The answer is clear when one visits many of the regions in Azerbaijan where the infrastructure is at its poorest. Not to mention the state of medical facilities in villages, and schools as well. 

The government also claims it has created some 2million new jobs. Where are these jobs? Another good question. The same question asked by many of the protesters of these past few days asking where are these jobs. But no avail. Instead of giving clear answers, the authorities issued arrests and sent in riot police to disperse crowds of peaceful residents demand jobs. 

The average salary in Azerbaijan today is AZN261.30. Following second devaluation and with the current exchange rate, that's about 154USD. 

We are yet to see of other regions join, but it is clear, people are hungry, this is what they keep saying into the very few cameras at the spot because none of the state media would report on the protests. 

Will Aliyev and his minions do something or will they continue to suppress its people while keeping others mute? 

We shall see. I just hope no one gets hurt.

No comments: