Martyr's Day in Azerbaijan Date in the current year: January 20, 2016

Martyr's Day in Azerbaijan January 20 is Martyr's Day in Azerbaijan. This day commemorates the events of Black January (also called Black Saturday), that took place in 1990 in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

The events began in December 1989, when the Azerbaijanians living in regions bordering Iran, ripped down border fences demanding closer relations with the Azerbaijanians living in Iran. The rioters defeated local authorities and turned over the administration to the Popular Front of Azerbaijan. The state of emergency was declared on January 15 in many parts of Azerbaijan, but not in Baku. The Popular Front barricaded the main access routes into Baku by hundreds of cars, buses and trucks. The next day the representatives and local officials were evacuated by the Soviet Union to the outskirts of Baku. The state emergency was introduced in Baku and the Soviet troops entered the city in the night on January 19-20.

26,000 Soviet troops smashed the barricades and crushed the Popular Front. The protesters were attacked by the troops, that fired into the crowds. The shooting continued for three days, resulting in the death of 93-137 (according to different reports) civilians and 21 soldiers.

The Memorial for Black January was erected in January 2010, on the 10th anniversary of the events. The opening ceremony took place on January 20.

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