“They are trying to instill fear so we give up our independence” - Pashinyan
31st anniversary of Armenian independence
“Every day they try to sow new doubts and fears in us with the sole purpose of having us give up our independence, our state,” Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in a congratulatory message on Armenia’s Independence Day.
According to the prime minister, the independence referendum never ended, and Armenians must again “say yes” to independence, sovereignty and democracy.
An independence referendum was held on September 21, 1991, and 2,56,758 people took part. The overwhelming majority (99.5%) voted for secession from the USSR and the creation of an independent democratic state. Two days later, on September 23, the Supreme Council of the country proclaimed Armenia an independent, sovereign republic.
In the morning, Pashinyan visited the Yerablur military pantheon to honor the memory of fallen soldiers. The police had to restraint families of the victims of the 2020 Karabakh war, who were holding a protest rally at the site, so that he could enter.
Earlier, the government had planned to organize an event at Garni temple on September 21. However, it was canceled after the military actions of Azerbaijan on the Armenian border on September 13-14.
Congratulations on Independence Day, the Yerablur military pantheon incident, and comments on social networks.
“Red Berets” and arrests at the pantheon
On Armenia’s 31st Independence Day the Prime Minister of Armenia, accompanied by the President, the Speaker of the National Assembly and other officials, went to the Yerablur military pantheon in the morning.
But the night prior, parents of the who died during the 44-day war in Karabakh gathered there to prevent him from entering the pantheon. The police had opened the passage before anyone showed up. The Red Berets, using brute force, arrested the protesting parents. The government delegation went to the Yerablur territory and laid wreaths. After their departure, the parents of the fallen soldiers returned and took all the wreaths from the graves of their children.
The parents intend to appeal the “illegal actions of the police.” The public organization “Union of Informed Citizens” stated that it would submit a report of the crime to the police.
It is reported that police officers arrested 37 people at the military pantheon. All were arrested under Article 182 of the Code of Administrative Offenses – failure to comply with the lawful request of a police officer. All have been released.
The consequences of the "new war" in Ombudsman of Armenia's report
The Office of the Human Rights Defender published an extraordinary report on the consequences of hostilities on the Armenian border. The report presents cases of torture of Armenian prisoners of war, abuse of the bodies of the dead, destruction of civilian infrastructure, and shelling of hospitals, schools and kindergartens.
“The referendum continues” – Prime Minister’s message
In his message, Nikol Pashinyan emphasized that the “yes” vote in the 1991 independence referendum was a decision that “did not change due to any social and political difficulties, or due to some setbacks and failures.”
The independence referendum, in his opinion, has not ended:
“A soldier standing on the border says “Yes” to independence, and it is imperative that his “Yes” resonates not only in our hearts, but also in our deeds.”
Pashinyan believes that be it official or villager, soldier or businessman, teacher or worker, everyone participates in the independence referendum every day and must reaffirm their vote for independence, sovereignty and democracy.
“And this “Yes”, if necessary, let’s confirm it in that part of the Motherland State with an area of 29, 800 square kilometers, where it will most be needed. And let’s have no doubt about this, because every day, every single day, they try to sow new doubts, new fears in us with the sole purpose that we give up our independence, our state,” he stressed.
Congratulations from Moscow, Washington and Paris
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his message, emphasized “friendly, allied relations” with Armenia and the fact that the countries “cooperate in various fields, coordinate efforts within the framework of the EAEU, the CSTO, the CIS and other multilateral structures”:
“I am sure that the development of constructive bilateral ties meets the fundamental interests of the Russian and Armenian peoples, and the consistent fulfillment of the tripartite declarations signed in 2020 and 2021 is a good basis for ensuring long-term peace and security in the Transcaucasus.”
According to the US Embassy in Armenia, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken vowed in his message that the United States will continue to support the democratic aspirations, sovereignty, and security of the Armenian people:
“After declaring independence from the Soviet Union, for more than thirty years we have seen Armenia’s commitment to democratic values, as well as a strengthening of human rights, the rule of law, and the development of the economy and the justice sector in the country. We are proud to cooperate with Armenia in these areas, which embody our common values.”
The French Embassy reports that President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturian and the “friendly Armenian people” on Independence Day. In his message, Macron stated that the long-standing and strong friendship between the two countries represents exemplary cooperation in all areas:
“Armenia can count on the full support of France in its efforts to strengthen democracy and the rule of law. France is determined to continue its activities for the sake of stability, peace and prosperity in your region.”
"Baku is torpedoing the peace agenda" – Pashinyan on reasons for the escalation
There are reports of 49 Armenian casualties in the renewed hostilities on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan said in a speech in parliament. He said also that this is not a final number.
Social media comments
“Sons were taken from their parents to die near Bayraktar so that the leadership would think of themselves as Stalin or Tigran the Great for several days. And now parents are driven away from the graves of their sons so that the authorities, kneeling down, can have a photo shoot.“
“And who needs your formal protocol “disrespectful tribute” to our victims? We need our homeland and brothers. That’s it. Today you would bow at the feet of those mothers and say words of gratitude and ask for forgiveness. But no – with salt in your hands you are looking for our wounds.“
“Today Pashinyan expelled the parents of the victims from the pantheon in order to get an official photo at any cost. It’s a shame you still don’t understand what it means to defend the Motherland at any cost.”
“If so many bodyguards, deputies, police and red berets go to Jermuk [a city that was badly damaged during the hostilities on September 13-14], they would be able to help our soldiers and return our lands.”
31st anniversary of Armenian independence