- Opposition Forces, Relatives of Fallen Soldiers and Veterans Clash with Police
- National Salvation Movement Holds Rally and March to Requiem Mass
After living through 45 days of war and 40 days after the end of the military hostilities in Karabakh, the people of Armenia on Saturday mourned the estimated 3,000 soldiers who perished during the Artsakh War and remembered those missing in action and who are still being held captive by marching to the Yerablur National Military Cemetery to honor their memory.
The procession to Yerablur kicked off a three-day mourning period that coincides with the traditional remembrance 40 days after a death.
Thousands took part in a procession of torches to Yerablur on Friday evening, in an solemn event spearheaded by the National Salvation Movement, which has been leading demonstrations in Yerevan demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who signed the November 9 agreement, along with the leaders of Russia and Azerbaijan, which ended the war, but stipulated the forced surrender of historic Armenian territories in Artsakh, and as become evident since, certain ares in Armenia-proper.
Heavy police and national security officials formed a wall at the entrance of the Yerablur Cemetery, where relatives of soldiers, Armenian Armed Forces veterans and opposition forces had come together to form a human chain and prevent Pashinyan and his entourage from entering the pantheon, saying that he, who is responsible for such grave losses, should not be allowed to hamper the day of national mourning.
Chaos ensued at Yerablur, according to several Armenian media reports, when Pashinyan and his entourage of government officials who were being guarded by heavily armed security detail reached the military pantheon Saturday afternoon, where thousands had already gathered. Angry protesters chanted “Nikol traitor!” while some Pashinyan supporter shouted back, “Nikol, prime minister.
Riot police deployed to Yerablur on this national day of mourning, pushed back the protesters and scuffles broke out with police and between protesters and Pashinyan supporters.
Armenian media captured photos and videos of Pashinyan’s adviser Robert Ghukasyan beating up a mourner at Yerablur.
At 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon, the National Salvation Movement organized an opposition rally and a march to the St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral, where a requiem Mass was said in memory of fallen soldiers.
Officiating the Mass was Primate of the Artsakh Diocese Archbishop Parkev Matirosyan.
“Martyrs are the most praised and the most bright in heaven, because they went to their death on their own volition, in order to secure their eternity through their passing,” said Archbishop Martirosyan.
“Today by commemorating our fallen children, we must realize and bring to life their dreams,” added Martirosyan. “We must be able to make wise decisions… and only through unity and our national abilities can we create our future.”