SHURNUKH, Armenia—Residents of this village in Armenia’s Syunik province were rocked Friday night when dozens of local residents attacked a group of LGBT activists who were reportedly gathered at a person’s house.
According to PINK Armenia, the LGBT advocacy organization, some from the group were injured with two of them being hospitalized for more severe injuries.
On Aug 3 at 8pm, in Syunik region, more than 30 people attacked 9 #LGBT activists and beat them. 2 injured activists are hospitalized. Others 7 are in Goris police station. The #police arrived to the place of crime around 9:30pm #hatecrime #Armenia
— Pink Armenia (@pinkarmenia) August 3, 2018
Elvira Meliksetian, a member of the group to Epress.am that she and others had arrived on Thursday to visit a friend, Hayk Hakopyan who lives in Shurnukh. She said that they were harassed upon their arrival when a couple of teenagers threw firecrackers at the house.
On Friday, what is being described as a mob, among them women and children, showed up outside of the house. When the group emerged from the house, they were reportedly beaten by the men, while the women and children allegedly threw stones and hurled slurs at them.
Hakopyan told PinkNews that it took the police a little more than an hour to arrive, despite them being called when the harassment had first begun. The local police said it has launched an investigation and several people involved in the attack were detained for questioning.
Hakppyan said he believed that the attack was not merely an anti-LGBT incident, but said he was targeted because he had submitted evidence against some in the village and in the region, in the authorities ongoing crackdown against corruption.
The United States embassy in Yerevan issued a statement condemning the attack and saying that “the state is responsible for all Armenians’ safety and security.”
The U.S. Embassy condemns all hate crimes, including the violent August 3 attack against nine young LGBTI Armenians. The state is responsible for all Armenians’ safety and security.
— US Embassy, Armenia (@usembarmenia) August 6, 2018
The Armenian Youth Federation Western United States posted its condemnation of the violence on its Facebook page on Saturday.
“The Armenian Youth Federation condemns the attack on our marginalized communities in Shurnukh. We wholeheartedly believe in an Armenia where every Armenian is safe and protected under the rule of law. Discriminatory violence has no place in a free, fair, and democratic society. We call on local authorities in the region and government of Armenia to defend the rights of all of its citizens, no matter their background, political affiliations or orientation,” the AYF Western US said on Facebook.