In what is believed to be the first ever pride celebration in Azerbaijan, a group of gay marchers recently paraded a “mini rally” through the capital city Baku, with no arrests, reports of harassment, or violence at the demonstration.
Oxu news reports that the event, organised by gay rights activists Ruslan Baluxin, took place “in a friendly atmosphere and without incidents” on Saturday.
No arrests were made and there were no reports of violence or harassment.
According to Modern Azerbaijan, the campaigners covered their faces, but also raised rainbow pride flags high over their heads.
Although homosexuality was decriminalised in 2001, LGBT people in the Muslim country are said to still suffer oppression and harassment.
Gay people cannot marry and have no legal protection against discrimination.
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said LGBT Azerbaijan citizens suffer police harassment and brutality, blackmail, intimidation, bribery and invasions of privacy and have no legal protection against discrimination.
The 2012 Eurovision song contest, held in Azerbaijan, was accused by Iranians of hosting a gay pride march to coincide with the event. However, Ali Hasanov addressed a press conference to clarify the issue.
“They are making statements about something that does not exist. We are holding Eurovision, not a gay parade,” he said.
He added: “There is no word in the Azerbaijani language for a gay parade, unlike in their language.”