Three Brawls Break Out In Two Days In Armenian Parliament
Three brawls broke out in the Armenian parliament over the course of two days as the assembly was disrupted by waves of violence among lawmakers. An August 25 speech by Vahe Hakobian of the Hayastan opposition grouping was interrupted by heckling when he accused Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian of being a lying populist. Lawmaker Vahagn Aleksanian of Pashinan's Civil Contract party launched a kick at Hakobian, which triggered a series of beatings on the floor of the chamber. Earlier on August 25, a speech by Hayk Sarksian, also of Civil Contract, was interrupted by the throwing of water bottles after he referred to former defense ministers as "traitors." Armenia was defeated last autumn in a 44-day war with Azerbaijan over its breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding territory. The speaker of the parliament, Alen Simonian, called security personnel to the chamber and several members were removed amid riotous scenes. The continuing disorder in parliament came just one day after a fracas in which opposition lawmaker Anna Mkrtchian was removed from the chamber.