Freedom House estimates political rights in Azerbaijan at 2 out of 40, and freedom of assembly at 0 out of 4. In 2021, it ranked 167/180 on the Reporters Without Borders index.
Investigative journalists have revealed that most of the participants in the blockade, the so-called eco-activists, are really connected with NGOs or head them and they all receive salaries from the government of Ilham Aliyev or members of his party. It also turned out that their transportation to the district and accommodation in hotels were clearly organized by state bodies. Their presence there also paved the way for the deployment of the Azerbaijani military and police.