The European Games kicks off in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, on Friday. It’s the first Olympic-style sporting festival for the continent – but a hashtag first used by organisers and originally meant to celebrate the games has been turned on its head by human rights campaigners.
#Baku2015 has been tweeted nearly 100,000 times in the last month. It was initially used back in 2012 after the European Olympic Committees launched the new tournament and named Baku as the first host city.
But in recent days, amidst athlete interviews and pictures of Baku’s new stadium, a significant number of the most repeated messages are from activists and groups such as Human Rights Watch, PEN and Amnesty International. They’re using the tag to detail something very different: the arrests of journalists and the arbitrary detention of activists.