Target: Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev
Goal: Release group of peaceful protesters from their current imprisonment
In March 2013, a group of police used unnecessary force on a group of peaceful protesters in the capital of Baku in Azerbaijan. Over a hundred have been imprisoned and many face criminal charges regarding resistance to arrest or police intervention.
The protest was provoked by the increasing accounts of governmental mistreatment of military recruits. The protest was organized through social networking sites like Facebook. Although the government has specifically banned protesting in the center of Baku, the protesters tried to attain permission, but received no answer from any government officials.
The protest was organized and operated in a very non-violent fashion. So, the police response—launching water cannons and tear gas into the crowd—was entirely disproportional and inappropriate. This reaction exhibits the extent to which the Azerbaijan government is anti-free speech and anti-freedom of assembly. Using violence against non-violent individuals is clearly an abuse of power. The protesters came together with a proclamation of solidarity with those who protect their nation, hoping to alleviate some of the forms of abuse that the government continues to impose on its military recruits.
The hundred or so protesters who were taken into custody need to be released immediately. The few who face criminal charges ought to be released, as their efforts to resist arrest were more than likely provoked by the overtly violent actions of the arresting officers.
Sign below to let the Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, know that it must release these protesters immediately.
Dear President Ilham Aliyev,
Recently, a group of peaceful protesters were arrested and jailed for seemingly unknown reasons. They were exercising their right to free speech and right to assembly when your police broke up the protest through unnecessarily violent means.
These protesters were not hurting anyone and were clearly trying to convey a notion of solidarity with the military recruits who have been reportedly abused by the Azerbaijan government. The individuals that face criminal charges were resisting arrest due to the violent means by which the police officials attempted to arrest them.
The criminals in this situation were not the civilians, but rather, the police. Please let the civilians who were protesting peacefully go free from imprisonment.
[Your Name Here]