Police is investigating Friends Cafe’s phobic behavior

On May 14 of this year, LGBTQ+ activist Ali Malikov reported on their social media account that they faced homophobic harassment at the "Friends" cafe located in Baku.

According to their report to Minority Azerbaijan, there were four people at the cafe that day. Ali simply placed the rainbow flag on the table. Later, when their friends sitting at the table took a photo, Ali held the flag in his hand to prevent it from falling in the picture. At that moment, a staff member of the cafe approached them and said, "Please take the flag away from here."

Ali says that they calmly explained to the staff member that the flag did not bother anyone in the cafe, and that other tables did not complain about it. At this point, the cafe employee asked them to leave the premises. Ali Malikov responded by stating that they would not leave the place without finishing their coffee.

According to their words, the staff member claimed that this decision was not within their authority, but rather it was instructed by the management. "We told them that we understand them too. Call the management, let's talk to them. Then the waiter replied that the management is not here. They are watching from the surveillance cameras."

Just at that moment, a person entered the cafe and approached them directly, demanding to take and put away the flag in the bag. Ali and their friends noted that the flag is their personal belonging and they will not remove it from the table. As a result, the argument escalated.

Ali Malikov says that during the course of the argument, they finished their coffee and left the place, and then they filed a complaint with the 9th police department. Despite nearly two months passing since the incident, they have not received any response from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Only on June 5, they received an SMS notification stating that their complaint was recorded by the Ministry. However, they could not determine which complaint the SMS referred to. Ali Malikov says that despite making numerous calls to the information department of the ministry, no one answered their calls, and no letter regarding the complaint was sent to their home.

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