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Protests against border delimitation continue in northeast Armenia

30 April 2024
A protest against the delimitation process in Tavush, Armenia. Image via Hetq.

Protests against the delimitation process with Azerbaijan have continued in Armenia’s northeastern village of Kirants, as Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan vows to address the demonstrators’ concerns. 

On Monday, Pashinyan and other government officials invited residents of Kirants, a village in the northeastern Tavush Province, to discuss the delimitation process with Azerbaijan.

Local residents 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.

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 followed statements made by Pashinyan in which he hinted that Armenia might return control of the four villages to Azerbaijan in the area where Armenia and Azerbaijan began the demarcation process. At the time, Pashinyan’s statements were seen by critics as a unilateral handover of territory to avoid war.

In the meeting with residents of Kirants, Pashinyan stated that the government was ‘familiar with all the problems’ they  were facing and that the government would work on offering 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’.

This marked the second meeting with the Government following the agreement. After the previous meeting, the Noyemberyan community released a statement saying that ‘demarcation in this format is not acceptable for us’.  

A village ‘divided in two’

The demarcation process in Tavush has been met with criticism from members of the opposition, with MPs from the Armenia Alliance parliamentary faction accusing the government of offering concessions to Azerbaijan. 

Following the meeting, MP Gegham Nazaryan of the faction met with representatives of the village. He stated that they told him they were uncertain about their village’s future, adding that they were told in Soviet times that it was unclear where the border with Azerbaijan began.

‘Now they are inventing a new border’, he said, adding that Azerbaijan sought to ‘steal’ territories that once belonged to Soviet Armenia.

‘It [the border] can even pass through the centre of the village’, said Nazaryan. 

Another Armenia Alliance MP, Garnik Danielyan, who was taking part in the protests in Tavush, told reporters that their concerns have ‘been confirmed’.

‘The village is divided into two parts’, said Danielyan.

Both MPs claimed that residents’ concerns about their security remained unanswered and that the government did not provide them with any security or safety guarantees. 

However, despite the residents’ and the opposition’s concerns, Yerevan maintained that it was not ceding any Armenian territory to Azerbaijan, and that the delimitation was based on the latest topographical Soviet maps available.

Pro-government media also dismissed claims made by Nazaryan about how the Armenia–Azerbaijan border would pass through Kirants.

On Tuesday, in parliament, Nazaryan stated that he never lied and that the centre of the village was ‘not the geographical centre, but the historical centre’.

Addressing concerns about the buildings and houses that the border would separate from the rest of Kirants, the Governor of Tavush, Hayk Ghalumyan, stated that the delimitation process still needed to be finalised.

Arrests, clashes, and roadblocks in Tavush

The residents of several villages in Tavush have been protesting the delimitation process since its announcement in mid-April, with protesters blocking several major roads in Armenia.

The police charged six people with hooliganism for blocking a road in the town of Noyemberyan, detaining three of them.

On Friday, two police officers and three civilians were injured in clashes during a protest in Kirants, with an investigation underway to identify the cause of the clash.

Soldiers stationed in Ijevan were also placed under investigation for refusing to perform their duties and laying down their arms to join the protests.

Several media organisations have also issued two separate statements condemning the authorities’ ‘groundless aggression and unjustified violence’ used against journalists covering the protests.