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Residents Rally Against Government Demining Around 7th-Century Armenian Church in Voskepar



voskepar church_mines_042224

Residents in Tavush province are taking a stand against the demining of their territories following the announcement of border delimitations by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.


For over 24 hours, locals in Kirants and Voskepar have blocked the road in protest. The Armenian Report's Ani Khachatryan has been in Voskepar and Kirants since Saturday. The people demand an immediate halt to the government's border delimitation efforts and the demining work.


Government officials argue that these protests aim to disrupt the border delimitation process, and they are actively seeking temporary solutions. The presence of numerous police officers, as well as Internal Affairs officers, indicates the tense situation.


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Recent developments include the arrival of Defense Ministry officers near the Holy Mother of God Church in Voskepar, a significant 7th-century Armenian landmark. As tensions escalated, protesters from Kirants rushed to Voskepar to prevent the demining activities around the ancient church.


Clashes between residents and law enforcement have occurred, emphasizing the intensity of the situation. Residents fear that if these territories fall into Azerbaijani hands, it could disrupt essential infrastructures like water, gas, and electricity, posing nationwide challenges.


Moreover, they warn of the strategic implications, stressing that losing these military positions could make Armenia's Lori Province vulnerable to future threats.


Among the demonstrators are veterans from both the recent 44-day war and conflicts dating back to the 90s. While police are tasked with protecting the demining efforts, tensions remain high as residents continue their protest to safeguard their lands and heritage.

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