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Still, on the night, the rain fell hard, although diehard Eurovision fans in Baku were not deterred and stuck it out on the windswept seafront promenade to cheer along their singer in front of the big mega-screen provided.

Amid the glitz, antigovernment activists have held a number of protests in the week running up to the final, seizing on the opportunity of the increased international media presence to draw attention to what they describe as the government’s authoritarian style of rule.

On Friday, police quickly shut down a small flash mob near the competition venue, roughly dragging away dozens of demonstrators and stuffing them into waiting buses, at least of one which bore a Eurovision logo.

Three demonstration participants were sentenced to jail terms of five and six days on Saturday, while 17 others were fined 20-25 manat ($25-32).