Akhalkalak Armenians Rally against Russian Base Pullout Demand Genocide Recognition

–Armenian Members of Georgian Parliament Ignore Key Parliament Session

AKHALKALAK/TBILISI (Armenpress)–Around 4,000 local residents of Akhalkalak in Georgia’s south-western region of Javakhk–which is predominantly populated by ethnic Armenia’s–rallied on March 13 to protest the withdrawal of the Russian military base stationed there. Rally organizers said they are seeking to protect the local Armenian population of Javakhk–and are guided by security concerns and joblessness–as many locals are employed by the base.

The demonstrators also demanded that Georgia’s Parliament officially recognize the 1915 genocide of Armenia’s by the Ottoman Turks–and end the ban on teaching Armenian history in Armenian schools.

Meanwhile–the majority of five Armenian members of Georgian parliament ignored the March 9 and 10 parliament debates and a subsequent vote on Russian military bases in Akhalkalak and Batumi.

With a 158-0 vote–parliament passed a resolution instructing the government to take measures against the existence of Russian military bases in Georgia if a timeframe for their withdrawal is not reached with Russia before May 15.

Armenian members Hamlet Movsisian–Henzel Mkoyan–and Van Bayburdian missed the vote–while Melik Rayisian walked out of the hall before the vote. Hayk Melitonian was the sole Armenian member of the parliament to endorse the resolution.

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