Armenia adopts controversial law, students continue protests (VIDEO)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 15
By Rashid Shirinov – Trend:
Armenian students continue their protests in the center of capital Yerevan against the new draft law on military service.
Under the new legislation, if a male student wants to continue his education and delay serving in the army, he will have to sign a contract with the Defense Ministry of Armenia in order to get a draft deferment. In this case, the person will have to serve three instead of usual two years in the military after completing his studies at the location chosen by the ministry. Moreover, during his study period the student will have to undergo military training.
The bill caused a wide wave of public disapproval and discontent in the Armenian society. Students from the initiative "For Science Development " went out to protest and boycotted classes for a week.
Last week meetings of the protesting students with Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan and Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan did not yield results. Moreover, the parliamentary commission that examined the document deceived the students and held a meeting secretly at another time although there was no quorum. All this increased students’ indignation.
This Monday, hundreds of angry students resumed their protest actions in Yerevan. They gathered in front of the Yerevan State University (YSU) building from the very morning and later held a protest march.
Next day, five of the protesting students began a hunger strike in a lecture room at YSU.
"We, several students, begin a hunger strike in order to fight against public indifference and the bill,” member of the initiative “For Science Development” David Petrosyan, who is also among the students who went on hunger strike, said on his Facebook page.
He asked not to try to break down the door or commit any provocation: “Our goal is fair and peaceful, we are not going to fight.”
However, despite the vocal protests, today the Armenian Parliament voted to pass the bill. After this, the students went to the building of the National Assembly at the Baghramyan Avenue.
The police tried to persuade them to move to the roadside and release the roadway, but the protesters refused. The incident grow to a clash between the students and the law enforcement officers.
It is clear that the new law will limit educational opportunities for Armenian men. By adopting the controversial law, the ruling regime in Armenia has taken another step towards the militarization of its society. Currently, Armenia is the third most militarized country in the world, and it seems that the country’s government seeks to advance to the first place in this ranking.
If Armenia wants to strengthen its armed forces, then it should work on the quality of its military personnel, but not on the quantity, as the terrible hazing and lack of discipline are reigning in the country’s armed forces.
It is apparent why the Armenian government tries to militarize the population – the reason is the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan. Although Azerbaijan’s authorities have long ago declared that the country intends to resolve the conflict with Armenia by peaceful means, the Armenian government obviously does its utmost not to let peace come in the region. Instead, the Armenian authorities continue the program on turning their population into a “Nation-Army,” thereby increasing the indignation in the country, which may increase to a greater level soon.