Farmers in central Azerbaijan staged a protest last week over a long-festering problem – the shortage of water – and were violently suppressed by police.
On March 13, about 200 villagers in Saatli District tried to block a highway, to protest water shortages in the nearby Kura and Aras rivers.
Police in riot gear were soon dispatched to the area. Videos circulating in social media appear to show they fired tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowd.
At least three protestors were injured; one of them, a 15-year-old, was hit with four rubber bullets, the narrator of one of the videos says.
Interior Ministry Spokesperson Elshad Hajiyev said that “only special measures were applied against those who did not comply with the legal requirements of the police” and emphasized that firearms were not used.