Female members of Armenia’s VETO movement were protesting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and his government’s lack of response to plight of women whose husbands, sons and brothers still remain in captivity in Azerbaijan.
“About five months have passed since the signing of the disgraceful capitulation agreement, and it is already obvious that most of the burden of the consequences of the [recent Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh)] war has been borne by Armenian women. (…). The mothers and wives of the missing and captives are in a particularly difficult situation. And the mothers of those in [Azerbaijan’s] captivity are living a nightmare for months, waiting for their children to return,” excerpts from the movement’s statement said.
The protest started at Yerevan’s Charles Aznavour Square, from where demonstrators made their way to the government where there was heavy police presence.
According to News.am, police attempted to apprehend Varduhi Ishkhanyan, the wife of the opposition Homeland Salvation Movement’s candidate for prime minister, Vazgen Manukyan. In a vide published by News.am, police are seen pulling from her hands and neck, but they let her go after being reproached and shamed by the other demonstrators.
“The police not only prohibited us from holding our demonstration, but also apprehended several dozens of girls and women through use of force,” said organizer Anna Hakopyan, not to be confused with Pashinyan’s spouse.
“Among those arrested were sisters of deceased servicemen, mothers whose sons fell in the war, as well as wives and daughters of heroes. We witnessed how the treacherous authorities are simply horrified by women holding a demonstration,” Hakobyan said, adding that she and the other women will continue their fight until they achieve their ultimate goal—“getting rid of the ‘Turks’ from Armenia.”
She informed that all those who were apprehended during the demonstration have been released and that they have decided to hold more demonstrations in the coming days.
Alexandra Harutyunyan, another protest organizer, told reporters that almost all of the women who were arrested had bruises when they were released from detention.