Nine briefly detained over anti-Armenian banners at Khojaly rally

April 18, 2012, Wednesday/ 10:53:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Following an investigation into the use of racist slogans and banners at a rally in İstanbul in February marking the 20th anniversary of the Khojaly massacre, the İstanbul Prosecutor's Office questioned nine people on Wednesday.

Upon the request of prosecutors, İstanbul police took nine people into custody, including two women. The suspects stated in their testimonies that the banners they held were given to them by other people at the rally, and the prosecutor later decided that all nine people should be released.

Tens of thousands of Turks and Azerbaijanis took to the streets in İstanbul in February to stage what they called “an unprecedented massive rally” to mark the 20th anniversary of one of the most tragic massacres in recent history. Some protesters held banners that featured offensive statement and chanted racist slogans against Armenians during the rally, which organizers said cast a shadow over the peaceful nature of the march. The slogans caused much outrage among the Turkish public.

Azerbaijani authorities say 613 Azerbaijanis were brutally killed by the Armenian military and hundreds are still missing after Armenian troops rushed into the village of Khojaly on Feb. 26, 1992. The attack appalled Azerbaijanis and became a symbol of Armenian aggression against Azerbaijan.

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