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Armenian Grape Farmers Allow Village School to Resume Classes

Children in the village of Aghavnadzor in Armenia's Vayots Dzor province went to school for the first time today since the beginning of the new academic year. Speaking to Epress.am, grape farmer Kostan Stepanyan said Monday that the villagers would allow schoolchildren to attend classes until September 15; after that, he added, if Vedi Alco company fails to keep its promise and pay the farmers the money owed for grapes purchased from them last autumn, the villagers will disrupt classes again and will even “resort to more extreme measures.”

Classes in the local kindergarten, according to Kostanyan, have also been resumed but will also be disrupted in case of the winery's failure to pay the farmers' money – a total of 140 million drams (nearly $295,000).

Recall, dozens of grape farmers from Aghavnadzor blocked the entrance to the local school on September 1 in protest against Vedi Alco's failure to pay for grapes that were purchased from them last year. The protesters, claiming that they could not afford to send their kids to school, parked a vehicle in front of the main school gates, refusing to allow students or teachers to enter the building.