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Azeri Protesters Call For Aliev To Quit Over Karabakh


BAKU, (AFP) - More than 1,000 protesters demanded the resignation of Azerbaijan's government for failing to win back the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh enclave from Armenia at a rally on Saturday.

The rally, organized by opposition parties, adopted a resolution calling on the Azeri government to halt talks with Armenia over the enclave and stop working with international peace mediators.

"The Azeri people no longer have faith in those who abandoned Karabakh," Tair Kirimli, leader of the Namus party told the crowd.

According to witnesses, the protesters numbered about 1,300 and there were no clashes with the approximately 100 police officers monitoring the demonstration, in the Azeri capital, Baku.

Unusually for Azerbaijan, a secular Muslim state, the protesters shouted "Allahu akbar" or "God is greater", and more than half were wearing traditional Muslim dress.

Protesters' other demands included government action on unemployment, the release of political prisoners and a ban on beauty contests and films which "do not fit in with the national mentality."

The Azeri government, led by President Heydar Aliev, is in intermittent talks with Armenia to find a peaceful settlement but is under constant criticism from the opposition at home for not doing enough.
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