Armenians protest blockage of key Nagorno-Karabakh road despite peace meetings News
© WikiMedia (Benoît Prieur)
Armenians protest blockage of key Nagorno-Karabakh road despite peace meetings

Several thousand Armenians have rallied on Saturday near the bordering country of Azerbaijan to protest the blockade of the Lachin corridor, only road to the disputed area of Nagorno-Karabakh. Footage of the rally shows thousands of Armenians gathering to demand the lifting of the blockade.

A series of meetings were held in Moscow on Friday between Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, Azerbaijan foreign minister Jeyhun Bayramoc and Armenian foreign minister Ararat Mirzoyan about issues in the region. “Security and stability” were the key themes discussed, with a further meeting scheduled for this week to specifically discuss removing the blockade.

The Human Rights Watch have stated this blockade which was introduced in in December 2022has removed the “lifeline” of the residents of Nagorno-Karabakh. There have been fears that freedom of movement has been violated and access to critical health services and essential goods have been blocked. While Azerbaijani authorities have “denied responsibilities for the blockade”, Amnesty International have noted the location of the blockade is under their control and is therefore their responsibility to remove.

There have been multiple protests over the last year in response to the blockade, with it being reported following the introduction of the blockage that political leaders from Nagorno-Karabakh had orchestrated the rallies. At that time French President Emmanuel Macron commented on the protests and urging Azerbaijan president Ilham Aliyev to “allow free movement along the Lachin corridor.” Previous protests have resulted in violence and injuries with the Armenian Revolutionary Federation party claiming that “police began the violence”.

Nagorno-Karabakh was created by Russia in 1923 as a home for thousands of Armenians in Azerbaijan. Both countries claim rights over the reigion and the Council on Foreign Relations states that despite a ceasefire being negotiated in 1994 conflict has continued with  multiple ‘drone attacks, shelling and special operations activities’ by both Armenian and Azerbaijan troops.