Azerbaijan in 2020: the best and the worst ELECTİONS, PROTESTS, PANDEMİC, WAR

2020 has been a very eventful year for Azerbaijan, and at best an ambiguous one for many.

2020 in Azerbaijan began with all eyes on parliamentary elections.

They were held on February 9. A big ‘renewal’ of the Milli Majlis, promised by the authorities, did not take place.

Only one representative from the ReAL opposition was elected to parliament - Erkin Gadirli from the Republican Alternative party.

Immediately after the elections, young activists and opposition members made several attempts to hold protests in front of the building of the Central Election Commission. All the demonstrations were dispersed by the police, some activists were arrested.

On February 28, the Azerbaijani authorities announced the first citizen of the country infected with coronavirus, the next day it was decided to close the border with Iran.

All educational institutions have been closed since March 2.

On March 12, Azerbaijan announced the first death from coronavirus.

Meanwhile, on March 8, feminists held their traditional march in support of women's rights and against domestic violence. During the march, there were detainees, but they were soon released.

On March 17, the Azerbaijani authorities released the political prisoner Afgan Mukhtarli and he immediately flew to Germany, where he still lives. Mukhtarli was kidnapped in Georgia in 2017 and accused of illegally crossing the state border.

On March 23, the first lockdown was introduced in Azerbaijan due to the coronavirus - people were forbidden to leave their homes. During the year, this ban was introduced several times, permission to leave the house could be received by SMS for just 2-3 hours a day.

On April 1, the Baku Metro closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the end of the summer, this form of public transport, the most popular, was reopened for a short time, but then closed again. The subway in Baku still does not work.

In early June in Baku, the police conducted an operation against residents of an apartment building who had resisted law enforcement officers. People were detained right in their apartments, they were taken out into the street in their underwear.

On July 12-16, the ceasefire was violated on the state border of Azerbaijan and Armenia. The fighting lasted four days. As a result, the Azerbaijani side lost 12 servicemen and one civilian was killed.

On the night of July 14-15, an unauthorized rally took place in Baku demanding the start of a war in Karabakh and the return of the occupied territories. The protesters entered the building of the country's parliament. Subsequently, 45 members of the opposition Popular Front Party were arrested for organizing and participating in an unauthorized demonstration.

On July 16, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev dismissed Elmar Mammadyarov from the post of Foreign Minister. He was absent from his workplace during the days of hostilities on the border in Armenia. Former Minister of Education Jeyhun Bayramov became the new foreign minister.

At the end of August, a wedding scandal erupted in Azerbaijan. The son-in-law of the head of the presidential administration Ramiz Mehdiyev held a wedding for his daughter, although mass events across the country were banned. A few days later, Mehdiyev was relieved of his post and was made president of the Azerbaijan Academy of Sciences.

On September 9, a protest action was held in the center of Baku against the arrest of opposition leader Tofig Yagublu, who went on a hunger strike in a pre-trial detention center. About 40 protesters were detained and soon released. A few days later, the authorities changed the measure of restraint against Yagublu and he was released under house arrest. This happened on the 18th day of the opposition member’s hunger strike.

In mid-September, a collection of those liable for military service in the reserve was announced in Azerbaijan. At the same time, “pickup trucks” were confiscated on the streets, which were later returned to their owners.

On September 27, the second Karabakh war began. Martial law was declared in Azerbaijan and a curfew was imposed.

The second Karabakh war ended on November 10 with the signing of a trilateral statement by the presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia, and the prime minister of Armenia. As a result of the war, Azerbaijan reclaimed most of the territory that had been occupied in the early 1990s. In the second Karabakh war, the Azerbaijani army lost over 2,800 servicemen, and 100 civilians were killed.

On December 10, a victory parade was held in Baku, in which Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took part.

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JAMnews Baku