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Environmentalists Use Humor to Protest Outside Armenia Government Building

More than 100 activists and members of several local environmental organizations protested outside the Armenian government building today. They were holding posters with inscriptions such as “Save Syunik”, “Not Another Mine”, “Where a Mine, There We’re Not” (the original phrase in Armenian rhymes), “No to Carrying Out the Turkish Plan”.

Recall, activists are demanding the annulment of a government decision that appropriated several communal lands in the province of Syunik (including land adjacent to the village of Kajaran) and transfered to Zangezur Copper-Molybdenum Combine. They handed over a letter addressed to the Government of Armenia with this request.

What made this particular protest different from others was the inclusion of performances. Demonstrators were playing marbles — alluding to government officials who, according to the activists, are not doing their work. In particular, they were referring to RA Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Armen Movsissyan, who was caught on camera a month ago playing games on his iPad during a parliamentary session. In fact, Movsissyan was playing a game involving marbles.

In addition, participants had blown up balloon with 10 and 20 dram coins inside, which they then popped, with the coins falling outside the entrance to the government building.

Following the protest, activists marched to the presidential palace where they were likewise preparing to protest. Passing by Russian bank VTB, activists urged customers to close their accounts because VTB provides loans to Valex Group, a company exploiting the Teghut mine.