AZERI POLICE DETAIN 30 ON EVE OF EUROVISION FINAL
- Azerbaijan on Saturday, May 26 hosts the Eurovision song contest, the biggest event the ex-Soviet state has ever held, which has been marred by the arrest of opposition protesters, AFP reported.
Police in Azerbaijan detained over 30 people Friday when a group of opposition protesters held a small rally in central Baku on the eve of the Eurovision Song Contest final.
The gathering on a busy promenade beside the Caspian Sea in the glitzy capital was called by the Public Chamber opposition alliance which brings together the main opposition parties in the energy-rich nation.
An AFP correspondent counted about 36 protesters who were grabbed from the crowd of several dozen people by police officers. Some people shouted "Freedom!" but did not brandish any protest signs.
Police put the detained people in vans parked right next to a coach decorated in Eurovision colours. One young woman screamed as she was shoved into the vehicle.
Many arrests were made by officers in plain clothes and among those held was a photojournalist from opposition newspaper Azadliq.
The busy public place filled with journalists and observers, including some representatives of Europe's security body OSCE, as police officers struggled to identify more protesters in the crowd.
Azerbaijan has pulled out all the stops to put on the international Eurovision song contest decorating its Caspian capital with contest insignia and constructing the glamorous Crystal Hall venue.
Among the favourites at the 57th edition are a troupe of dancing grannies from an obscure Russian village, the Buranovskiye Babushki, and veteran British crooner Engelbert Humperdinck who first topped the UK charts 45 years ago in the era of the Beatles.
- 451 Battle of Avarair (or Vardanants). Vartan Mamikonyan dies defending the Armenians right to their Christian faith against the attacking Zoroastrian Persians.
- 1857 Birth of Siranoosh (actress). She died in 1932.
- 1886 Death of Arakel Altoon Dyoori in Constantinople. In 1850 he founded the Armenian theatre in Khasgyoogh and later, the "Eastern Theatre".
- 1907 Gevorg Chaush (Armenian patriot) is killed in the battle of Solukh.
- 1918 Disintegration (over two days) of the Transcaucasian Seim. Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia each proclaim their independent republics.
- 1945 Death of Meenass Veratseen (Farhat), Communist Party and public figure.