Armenia’s in Georgia Rally against Attack on Armenian Youths

YEREVAN (Yerkir/Armenpress)–Thousands of Armenia’s attended a rally Saturday in the Georgian town of Akhalkalak to protest an attack in the southern Georigan town of Tsalka–in which 23 year old Gevorg Gevorgyan was stabbed to death and two other Armenian men wounded.

Organized by the Javakhk Council of Armenian Public Organizations–the rally denounced the crime–saying that it is a result of Georgia’s policy toward ethnic minorities.

Speakers discussed the security of the local Armenian population and urged the public to remain cautious and restrained in the face of Georgian provocation.

At the end of the rally–an appeal was presented to the Georgian authorities which demanded that they guarantee the security of the local Armenian population and stop aggravating ethnic tensions by repatriating non-Armenia’s to Armenian regions of Georgia.

They also appealed for a democratic solution to Javakhk’s problems and to allow Armenian to be used as an official language in Javakhk.

The Human Rights Defender of Georgia–Sozar Subari–held a press conference Saturday addressing the incident that took place on the evening of March 9.

Representatives from the Human Rights Defender’s Office arrived in the southern town of Tsalka to investigate the incident in which about 15 ethnic Georgians attacked three Armenian men as they were getting into their car.

After studying the preliminary report–Subari denied widespread allegations that this crime was ethnically motivated.

"Our representatives traveled there and probed into the case. We can say that this dispute has nothing to do with ethnic confrontation," Subari said.

He called on the people to let government officials finish the investigation of Tsalka events without any pressure or hindrance.

According to official data–five suspects have been detained by Georgian police and the search for others continues.

Karen Elchyan–President of the Armenian Center of Cooperation of Georgia (ACCG) said that victims believe the attack was motivated by ethnic hatred.

Representatives from the office of the Ombudsman and leaders of the ACCG visited Karen Baloyan–one of the victims–in a Tbilisi hospital where he was taken after the attack.

When asked about the incident–Baloyan said that neither he nor any of his friends were previously acquainted with their attackers.

Clashes between Armenia’s and Georgians have occurred occasionally in recent years in the predominantly Armenian populated Tsalka.

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