19/10/2005versione stampabilestampainvia paginainvia



Aliyev’s regime has outlawed the colour of revolution, but did everything to provoke one
demonstration in BakuIn the windows and on the shelves of the shopping centres ‘Sadarak’ and ‘Bina’ and all clothes shops in Baku there’s nothing in orange anymore. T-shirts and sweaters, shirts and shoes, gloves and hats: everything in this colour has been removed from sale and impounded by the police following an order on the 10th August that banned the commercial sale of orange clothing. The punishment for shopkeepers that transgress this order is the impounding of their goods and very high fines. It’s pointless protesting: this colour is banned.
 
Azadliq demonstrationA colour that is feared. After the triumph of the ‘coloured’ revolutions, in particular after that of the ‘orange’ in Ukraine, this colour has become a symbol that makes all authoritarian and dictatorial presidents of the ex Soviet republics tremble. But up until now no one has gone as far as the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, who has banned it by decree. He succeeded his father two years ago in an election that caused popular demonstrations that were violently repressed and also caused a wave of political arrests.
In this country on the 6th November parliamentary elections will be held and for the occasion the democrat opposition has promised ‘to do like Kiev,’ organising popular demonstrations to call for the resignation of Aliyev. With the blessing of the US State Department and the Open Society foundation of the American business magnate George Soros.  
 
clashesClashes every weekend. Since the beginning of the electoral campaign, the three Azerbaijani opposition parties, united in the political block Azadliq (Freedom), every week-end have brought thousands of people onto the streets of Baku, despite a government ban on demonstrating. Despite the lack of orange clothing, t-shirts, flags and ribbons in this colour have filled the streets of the capital. The anti-uprising police regularly intervene dispersing and beating marchers, and arresting hundreds.
“Every time the same thing happens,” declared Saida Godzhamanly, director of the office of Human Rights in Baku, to the press. “From one side there are truncheons, shields and violence, and from the other the people that dream of democracy and freedom.” Adam Ereli, spokesperson for the US State Department announced a few days ago a clear warning to the Baku regime: ”The Azerbaijani government must respect the rules of civil rights and freedom for its citizens.” This was also echoed by the organisation linked to George Soros, Freedom House: “The Azerbaijani government has to demonstrate with concrete acts its obligation for the democratisation of the country.”
 
Baku streets“The revolution starts today.” On the 17th October, opposition newspapers had the headlines: “The Revolution starts today.” Armed patrols on the streets of the city and police control posts closed the roads going to the city from the airport. In fact Rasul Guliyev, ex parliamentary speaker and leader of the democrat opposition who for nine years was exiled in the USA, was expected. He now has decided to return to his homeland to put himself forward as a candidate in the elections. The government –that considers Guliyev the only figure within the opposition able to create a strong movement around himself- has warned that he could be arrested as soon as he gets off the aeroplane for an old financial scandal linked to the privatisation of State oil refineries. His supporters have promised to go to the airport to ‘defend’ their leader, but many of them were arrested the night before in police preventative actions. Finally, yesterday afternoon, Guliyev, that had left London by aeroplane, was arrested under an Azerbaijani warrant in Simferopol airport in Ukraine, where his aeroplane had made a stop after the Azerbaijani authorities refused landing permission in Baku airport.
 
Ilham Aliyev (on the left) and Rasul GuliyevHas the fuse for the revolution been lit? Talking to the press before he left, Guliyev had, for the umpteenth time, declared that the accusations made against him were unfounded and politically motivated. He said that he wasn’t afraid of being arrested and that he wanted, at any cost, to go home to his country, “to fight against the dictatorship, corruption and monopolies.” He also added an invitation to the Uzbekistani authorities: “To ask the government not to trample on civil rights and to invite the people to protest against violations of human rights.”
Now that Guliyev has been arrested the demonstrations can’t wait anymore.
Rauf Arifoglu, one of the spokespersons of the Azerbaijani opposition, made it known in recent days that the arrest of the exiled leader, hasn’t done anything but “accelerate the time towards the revolution.”
Probably this action by the Aliyev regime has cut its own throat, priming the fuse of a bomb that it didn’t expect and giving it a good reason to explode. An orange bomb. 
 
Enrico Piovesana