BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Azerbaijan's Interior Ministry says two senior police officers have been killed in a clash with protesters.

The ministry said the officers were stabbed to death while confronting about 200 demonstrators who gathered outside the local administration headquarters in the western city of Ganja. It said police dispersed the protest and detained 40 participants.

Azerbaijani media reported that the protest was over the arrest of a man accused of attacking Ganja's mayor, Elmar Veliyev. Veliyev and his bodyguard were shot and hospitalized last week.

Authorities alleged the suspected gunman, Yunis Safarov, belonged to a radical Islamist group and was plotting a coup. Another 11 suspects have been arrested in recent days in connection with the attack on Veliyev and for calling unauthorized protests.