“Enough is enough,” said Marlène Mourier the mayor of the French city of Bourg-les-Valence, who in a Facebook post on Wednesday revealed that she received threats from Azerbaijanis in August because her city has a “Friendship City” relationship with Shushi in Artsakh. She also said three Azerbaijani “henchmen” stormed city hall in late August demanding the Artsakh flag to be lowered.
“In Bourg-lès-Valence, we have no lessons to learn from Azerbaijan, a ‘petro-dictatorship’ ranked 168 out of 180 by Reporters Without Borders,” Mourier asserted in her post.
Mourier is the latest victim of intimidation and harassment by Azerbaijani around the world. Since the brazen attacks by Azerbaijani forces on civilian and military targets in Armenia’s Tavush Province, official Baku and its representatives around the world have targeted Armenians and their supporters around the world. Azeri mobs attacked Armenian-owned businesses in Moscow, set an Armenian-owned cafe on fire Kyiv, Ukraine and burned a vehicle belonging to the Armenian Embassy in Berlin. This was coupled with intimidation and violence against peaceful Armenian protesters in London, Washington and Los Angeles, as well as targeting Armenian institutions such as the Krouzian-Zekarian Vasbouragan School in San Francisco, which was covered in pro-Azerbaijani graffiti sparking a wave of hate crimes in that city that included arson at the Armenian Center next to the St. Gregory the Illuminator Church and shot being fired at the school on Saturday.
“When it comes to threats and intimidation against me, this is not Azerbaijan’s first attempt,” said Mourier in her Facebook post.
In a lengthy post the Mayor says “when it comes to threats and intimidation against me, Azerbaijan is at its best.”
“After putting me on a blacklist in 2014, they sent an agent to the city hall in 2016 to demand that I put an end to all friendly relations with the residents of the city of Shushi in Artsakh. It was in 2018 that I had to face a lawsuit brought by the state of Azerbaijan before the administrative court with the aim of invalidating the friendship charter that I signed on October 5, 2014 with Shushi, the historic capital of Artsakh, “ Mourier recounted the countless efforts of intimidation by Baku and its agents.
Mourier made it abundantly clear that despite the challenges and threats by Baku, the city’s friendship charter with Shushi remains in place, adding that “no one can prejudice the final decision of the City Council.”
“Today I am once again the subject of threats and intimidation to which I will not give in, let alone to the dictator in Baku or even his allies in Turkey,” said Mourier. “Indeed, three Azeri henchmen came to city hall on August 25 to order me to withdraw within an hour the Artsakh flag which flies alongside the flags of our twin cities with which we maintain friendship ties.”
She added that 15 minutes after the incident, an Azerbaijani Embassy official called her deputy and attempted to intimidate him by demanding that the Artskh flag be lowered.
“Azerbaijan, Aliyev and his associates must come to terms with the idea that friendship cannot be decreed or annulled and that residents of Bourg-lès-Valence have high esteem and regard for the residents of Shushi and for the people of Artsakh, in general,” Mourier stressed.
“Bourg-lès-Valence is not a land that can be conquered, but a land of resistance,” added the mayor.
“Here in France, in Bourg-lès-Valence, displaying the Artsakh flag is an act of solidarity with a people that Azerbaijan threatens daily with annihilation, demonstrating to the world that its only stated ambition is to complete the genocide of the Armenians of 1915, whose executors of yesterday are their allies today,” Mourier said.
“Neither Bourg-lès-Valence, nor its mayor, Marlène Mourier, will follow the orders of the Baku dictatorship!” she concluded.
In late August, the Komitas statue in Paris, which serves as a memorial to the Armenian Genocide victims, was vandalized by denialist graffiti. An investigation is underway.