Azerbaijan - March 2023
Violent crackdown at water protest
Police in the Saatli District of central Azerbaijan fired rubber bullets and tear gas at farmers protesting three years of government inaction over shortages of water safe for drinking or irrigating crops. At least three protesters were injured. President Ilham Aliyev personally pledged to fix the issue in July 2020, but farmers and local residents complained nothing had been done. While some government officials blame the persistent shortages on climate change, experts have instead pointed to the ability of local oligarchs and powerful individuals to divert water to their own private needs at the expense of the broader population.