Opposition groups in Azerbaijan are calling for the release of a 20-year-old political activist who was arrested last week after posting a message on his Facebook page calling for Egypt-style protests in Baku's central square.
Although Azerbaijani officials denied the arrest was politically motivated, the situation highlights growing tensions between opposition groups and the government following the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.
Two days after the Egyptian protests began on Jan. 25, the government appeared to launch a preemptive strike against an similar uprising in Azerbaijan.
The government's anti-corruption commission, which is overseen by presidential Chief of Staff Ramiz Mehiyev, convened Jan. 27 for the first time since 2009. In the following weeks, several government officials have made announcements promising far-reaching anti-corruption measures within government ministries. According to the newspaper Yeni Musavat. 18-year president Ilham Aliyev is also considering reshuffling his Cabinet and calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Artur Rasizade.
At the end of January, government employees received orders to "avoid irritating the population and to work effectively and build public trust,” according to the news website EurasiaNet.