The unprecedented protest came following three days of fighting on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and the deaths of at least 11 Azerbaijani soldiers, including Major General Polad Hashimov.
The protest grew out of a funeral on the evening of July 14 for one of the fallen soldiers in the Akhmedli district of Baku. Mourners then began marching toward the center of the city, gathering others as they walked, local independent media reported.
The protesters chanted slogans “Karabakh is ours,” “End the quarantine and start the war,” “Commander-in-Chief, give us weapons,” “Karabakh or death,” “Najmaddin resign,” “We will not leave until Karabakh is liberated.” Najmaddin Sadigov is the chief of staff of Azerbaijan’s Armed Forces.
“We have put up with enough,” one protester shouted, according to live streams of the event. “We don’t need money or jobs, let us go and fight!”
The protest wended its way toward the center, passing the war memorial space knowns as the Alley of Martyrs, though police prevented them from entering the memorial. All along, even late into the night, they gathered more and more people from different parts of the city. The independent newspaper Azadliq reported that police prevented about 3,000 from Baku’s Khirdalan district from reaching the center to join the main protests. Zaur Shiriyev, a Baku-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, estimated the crowd at perhaps 30,000.
Eventually they reached the parliament building, some breaking in and causing minor damage.