A woman sweeps a street in front of fashion boutiques in Baku, Azerbaijan June 15, 2015.  REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov
A woman sweeps a street in front of fashion boutiques in Baku, Azerbaijan June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Street sweeper killed in deadly road accident

On Thursday last week, 8 November, a street cleaner was killed in Baku’s Nizami district. The woman had been working close to Neftchilar metro station when she was hit by a bus and died at the scene.

The Nizami district police department is investigating the case.

As in previous incidents of street sweepers getting killed on duty, there was dispute about whether the woman had really been working in this profession. The head of the public relations department of the Baku State Traffic Police Department, Vagif Asadov, confirmed that the woman had been identified as a street sweeper. However, Baku city authorities denied this, arguing that the victim had not worked in this profession since 2015 and that the incident occurred while the woman was crossing the road.

Street sweepers are primarily elderly women who, due to their low pensions of about $80 a month, are forced to continue working beyond the age of retirement to support themselves and their families. Amidst heavy Baku traffic and without safety measures, they frequently fall victim to accidents and every year, several are killed.

Following public outcry on social media after the death of a 82-year old street sweeper in March this year, authorities handed out reflective vests to increase the women's visibility– a solution many criticized as insufficient to protect them.