On June 6, around 200 residents of Aragats village in the Aragatsotn Region held a protest against one of the hydropower plants operating on the Gegharot River. The demonstrators demanded the halting of two hydroelectric plants’ operation on the Gegharot River, which supplies irrigation water for their village. According to Arbat village resident Arbak Gasparyan, in the past it took the river water three hours and 15-18 kilometres to flow from the Aragats crater to the village, purifying itself in the process. However, because of the hydropower plant, the water reaches the village in around five minutes and brings with it toxic substances, including heavy metals and sulfur. Due to this, the entire crop is dry and ‘decayed’.
The protest began in the morning. The villagers had originally planned to close the road, but after a discussion, decided to go to one of the hydropower plants instead. Demonstrators brought agricultural equipment and began forming a ditch near the hydropower plant in order to allow some of the river water to bypass it and flow to the village.
In the afternoon, some of the demonstrators left for Yerevan with My Step faction member of parliament Matevos Asatryan to meet with Minister of Nature Protection Erik Grigoryan. Shortly before going to press, the villagers stated that during their meeting, Minister Grigoryan promised to address the problem and stop the operation of the hydroelectric power plant in the near future.