Armenia marks Independence Day, as police detain relatives of soldiers killed in 2020 Karabakh war

By Mark Dovich

As Armenia marked its independence day Wednesday, police detained nearly 50 relatives of soldiers killed in the 2020 Karabakh (Artsakh) war for attempting to prevent Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan from holding a ceremony to mark Armenia’s independence at Yerablur, the country’s main military cemetery.

Videos showing the incident quickly went viral on Armenian social media, with many users decrying both the move to detain the soldiers’ relatives and the excessive force with which officers made the detentions.

Vahe Ghazaryan, Armenia’s police chief, defended his officers’ actions in a statement Wednesday, while also pledging to launch an internal inquiry into the officers’ use of excessive force.

All those who had been detained at Yerablur were released after Pashinyan and other senior officials finished a wreath-laying ceremony at the cemetery.