YEREVAN — Activists protesting state sponsored discrimination and intolerance towards women and other minorities in Armenia, greeted participants as they entered Yerevan’s Marriott Hotel this morning for a conference entitled “Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Europe”
The high-level conference is attended by Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian and Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjorn Jagland.
Holding banners accusing the ruling Republican Party in Armenia and its officials as actually fomenting “hate crime”, the activists argued that the government itself should be the focus of the conference.
In particular, they accused senior RPA member Edward Sharmazanov as well as leading representative of the opposition Dashnaktsutyun party Artsvik Minasyan of supporting those who bomb-fired an LGBT-friendly bar in Yerevan in May 2012.
Afterwards, the activists made their way into the conference hall, despite steps taken by local security staff and police to prevent them. The protestors entered the hall just as Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian was making his opening remarks.
The conference is being hosted by the Armenian government as the current chair of Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.