Armenians gather in rare anti-Russian protest

13th April 2016, Comments 0 comments

Hundreds of Armenians on Wednesday took part in a rare protest in Yerevan against the country's ally Moscow, demanding that it stops selling arms to Azerbaijan and pelting the Russian embassy with eggs.

The crowd, carrying pictures of soldiers and civilians killed in the recent bout of violence in Nagorny Karabakh, -- a separatist region of Azerbaijan populated by ethnic Armenians -- walked along central streets shouting anti-Russian slogans and finished by picketing the embassy.

The rally is not the first following the violence, which left at least 110 people dead earlier this month and ended with a shaky truce, but it was a first to be directed against Moscow, Yerevan's strategic and military ally.

"I came here to tell Russians -- it's you who is killing our children, by giving weapons to a potential killer," said 56-year-old Hranush Serobyan, referring to Azerbaijan.

A Moscow-mediated ceasefire went into effect last week after the worst outbreak of violence since the 1994 ceasefire in Nagorny Karabakh, where Armenia-backed separatists seized control in the early 1990s war that claimed some 30,000 lives.

Russia supplies weapons to both Armenia and Azerbaijan and indicated that it will continue to do so after the recent bloodshed, infuriating some Armenians. Moscow also maintains a military base in Armenia, a poor, landlocked country.

"They tell us it's just business," 23-year-old student Vahe Asatryan said of the arms sales. "Perhaps we made a mistake in choosing an ally. We don't need an artificial ally."

Some in the crowd shouted "Shame!" and "Free and independent Armenia" and even pelted the Russian embassy with eggs and coins, as police attempted to cordon off the building.


© 2016 AFP

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