The people were infuriated by the territorial claims and aggressive acts of Armenia, backed by the Soviet officials, against Azerbaijan, as well as by the anti-nationalist behavior of the local authorities. Azerbaijanis were being expelled from the land where they had lived for centuries. Since 1988 the national movement for liberty grew. This was a protest against the policy of the USSR and, as a result, for the independence of Azerbaijan. Thousands of people protesting against the policy of held demonstrations all day long in the central square (Now called Azadliq or Freedom Square) and the streets of Baku.