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22 Jan 2021

Human Rights Watch

Activists in Armenia continue to protest Amulsar gold mine, despite arrests; says HRW World Report

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Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch World Report 2021: Armenia

Despite Covid-19-related restrictions, protests against plans to restart construction on the Amulsar gold mine continued throughout the year. Protesters are concerned with the mine’s potential environmental and health impacts. Protests escalated towards the end of July, when private security personnel hired by the mining company removed makeshift cabins used by the protesters and replaced them with booths to be used by the security company. The escalation led to clashes with police. On August 4, police arrested more than 10 people, including protesters and security personnel. Several protesters accused the police of using excessive force in detaining protesters.

On August 6 and 10, protesters in Yerevan, observing social distancing, staged single person-pickets in support of the Amulsar protests. Police briefly detained them, citing Covid-19 restrictions. Among those detained were human rights defenders Nina Karapetyants, Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, and Ara Gharagyozyan. On August 6, authorities also banned a bicycle rally in support of the Amulsar protests, detaining several bikers. Police pressed misdemeanor disobedience charges and released all detainees within hours. Authorities did not interfere with further protests in support of Amulsar days later...