Thousands of opposition protesters chanted “Freedom!” and carried pictures of President Bush as they marched across Azerbaijan’s capital Saturday, urging the government of this U.S. ally to step down and allow free parliamentary elections this year.
The massive rally in Baku was the largest opposition demonstration in the former Soviet republic since October 2003, when one person died and nearly 200 were injured in clashes between police and demonstrators protesting vote-rigging in the presidential election.
Tensions have been building steadily in this oil-rich Caspian Sea nation in the run-up to parliamentary elections set for November, leading some observers to predict that Azerbaijan could see a massive uprising similar to those that toppled unpopular regimes in other ex-Soviet nations of Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan during the past 18 months.
Supporters of several opposition parties chanted “Freedom!” and “Free Elections!” while holding placards with such slogans as “Down with robber government!” Some carried a picture of Bush with the inscription: “We want freedom!”
The rally was intended to draw attention to the opposition’s push for election law reforms and access to state-controlled television. The opposition parties have accused authorities of rigging the October 2003 presidential election when President Ilham Aliev succeeded his late father, Geidar Aliev, and demanded changes to prevent fraud in the parliamentary vote.
It’s possible this country could become the new Ukraine and find real Democracy but what got my attention was a few pictures from the demonstration:
Curious that every country that believes it is being repressed and wishes democracy carry signs of Bush begging for freedom. But here in the land of the free we have many spoiled kids carrying signs comparing Bush to Hitler.
What is even more curious is that there is barely any mention of this news story in the MSM. We all know what is being beaten to death by the MSM tho, the accidental dripping of urine onto the Koran.
These poor people holding up signs of Bush while demanding freedom, didn’t they read Newsweek? Don’t they know that Bush is only after oil, I mean look how low are gas prices are in the US.
Anyways, lets start a list:
Slater Bakhtavar wrote a piece last week that summerized the recent past of freedom’s march:
A resilient, yet experimental venture by the Bush Administration into uncharted waters has proven largely beneficial as democracy sweeps several countries once occupied by tyrants. The winds of change are blowing across the world as jubilant demonstrators are taking back their God-given right to freedom once usurped by fascist dictators. An unshaken vision of international democracy in coordination with the deep desire of individuals across the world to be free has led to elections across the Middle East and the former Soviet Union.
In Georgia, a fraud-infested election led to peaceful protests by thousands against President Eduard Shevardnadze. President Shevardnadze forced to succumb to the rightful demand of the people, stepped down paving the way for elections in the former Soviet state. The revolution in Georgia (the Rose Revolution) opened the gateway for several subsequent democratic revolts within the region. President Bush?s visit to Georgia this month was welcomed by hundreds of thousands who?d labeled him the ?Great Liberator?.
In Ukraine, fraudulent election results in November led to a mass popular movement around opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko. Peter Ackerman of the Boston Globe wrote ?in the wake of what was widely perceived as a corrupt election on Nov. 21, Ukrainians took to the streets — wearing orange clothing as a symbol of solidarity with Yushchenko?s campaign — and demanded a new vote. Public figures ranging from policemen to news broadcasters defected from the government?s party line and openly expressed agreement with Yushchenko?s movement.? Largely welcomed by the Bush Administration, Yushchenko was elected President of Ukraine in a free and fair democratic election in December.
In Kyrgyzstan, pro-democracy demonstrations were touched off due to popular outrage over unfair election results. President Askar Akayev after fifteen years of autocratic rule was confronted by tens of thousands of demonstrators demanding his resignation and the implementation of free elections. President Askar Akayev would later flee to Russia where he has taken refugee as a lamed dictator. Democratic presidential elections under the control of designated Prime Minister, Kurmanbek Bakiyev are set to take place in June.
In Kuwait, women received the right to vote for the first time after four decades of parliamentary government. Granting women the right to vote was one of the most significant events in the history of the Kuwaiti nation and a proud push towards a free society. The first lady Laura Bush praised the initiative as a ?proud step towards democracy.?
In Saudi Arabia, the gulf nation agreed to hold the first historical municipal election. The election was part of a large plan to bring democracy to the Gulf kingdom. According to AFP over seventy percent of registered voters turned out, putting the tally far ahead of most western nations, insidiously opening the once iron gate to society.
In Azerbaijan, pro-democracy forces previously emboldened by the revolutionary trend in the former Soviet Union region took the streets by the thousands to take on President Ilham Aliyev. This month, thousands gathered to call for free-and fair elections in November before being beaten with batons. Many of these demonstrators were seen carrying portraits of US President George W. Bush. During a May 10 speech in Georgia, President Bush guaranteed that the United States would back democratic change in all former Soviet states.
In Iran, pro-democracy students have taken to the streets several times during the past couple of years. A poll conducted this month by student activists at Amir Kabir University the countries second largest university provided a discomfiting message for the reigning Ayatollahs. The University poll chronicled a mere five to ten percent support for the mullahs and eighty-five percent support for a secular democratic government. President Bush has consistently reached out to this nation that Michael Rubin of the Washington Enterprise Institute dubbed the ?most pro-American in the entire region, if not the world?, and Thomas Friedman of the New York Times called ?the ultimate red state. . .?
He ends with this:
The unconditional support of an administration determined to spread the foundations of democracy will in the end lead to the victory of the brave freedom fighters. Unfortunately, several vindictive and irrational groups will not succumb to their failure in predicting the beneficial consequences of the Bush Doctrine. As an extra monkey tactic, they have backtracked to their usual innate conspiracy of blaming President Bush for everything. Several countries are free and democratic with many more to come, but let us not forget — it is Bush?s fault.
Damn right it is