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Protesters against border delimitation in northeast Armenia march to Yerevan

6 May 2024
Archbishop Srbazan leading the march. Screengrab via News.am

A group of people from the village of Kirants are marching to Yerevan in protest against the process of border delimitation with Azerbaijan.

The Tavush for the Motherland group, consisting of around 100 people, left Kirants on Friday, led by the leader of the Diocese of Tavush, Archbishop Bagrat Srbazan, and is expected to reach the Armenian capital on Thursday, according to RFE/RL

‘There is a place where they will walk, there is a place where we will go by bus, if the metro works, we will take the metro, we will go by car, we will lie down, we will sleep’, said Srbazan. ‘We will go as we want. This movement arose naturally, and it is going naturally’.

Local residents in Kirants have expressed fears that the delimitation process would divide their village between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as based on a preliminary map of the delimited border, several houses and lands and a recently built school would fall on the Azerbaijani side of the border. Others have raised concerns that a closer border with Azerbaijan would raise risks of Azerbaijani attacks. 

Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to begin the long-delayed delimitation of their shared border on 19 April in the Tavush Province, prompting condemnation and protests from people living in border villages in Armenia.

‘This process must be stopped, our demand is very clear’, noted Bagrat Srbazan.

[Read more: Protests against border delimitation continue in northeast Armenia]


On Sunday, the leader of the Diocese of Shirak, Archbishop Mikeil Ajapahian, expressed his support for Tavush for the Motherland movement and Bishop Srbazan.

‘I fully support Bagrat Srbazan's course, I want you to know. Beyond this, everyone can decide for themselves the extent of their participation, or follow the instructions or directions that I may give, today, tomorrow or another day. Those who do not wish to obey my dictates unconditionally may feel free. And those who are expecting certain instructions and directions from me will receive them in the near future’, said Ajapahian.

While RFE/RL reports that the situation is now calm in Kirants, the village has seen several clashes with police as they successfully blocked several major roads since mid-April.

Last week, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held talks with representatives of the village in Yerevan, promising to offer them ‘solutions’.

However, the village’s representative at the meeting refused to give extensive details as to what the government would do in response to their protest.

‘Nothing has changed, it remains as it was, there has been no change,’ said Gohar Vardanyan, a resident of Kirants. Asked why the representatives of the village appeared agitated, Vardanyan said that it was because ‘people will not live there [anymore], in Kirants’.

Thirty protesters were arrested in Kirants on 2 May, all of whom were later released. The road to the village was closed the same day, with entry blocked to all except for residents of the village. Restrictions on entering the village were lifted on the evening of 3 May. 

Read in Russian on SOVA.News.