Armenia rally over Karabakh unrest draws thousands

AFP , Sunday 10 Apr 2016

A rally to protest recent violence in the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh drew several thousand people Sunday to the Armenian capital Yerevan.

The flare-up of recent weeks has left at least 92 people dead in the mainly ethnic Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan and marchers held a silent protest before heading to a monument commemorating the 30,000 victims of a 1990s conflict which assailed the region.

Participants held aloft Armenian and Nagorny Karabakh flags days after world leaders urged both sides to refrain from further violence amid violations on both sides of a Moscow-mediated truce which came into force last week.

"It pains me to see young people die but I am proud of them," one protester, 21-year-old student Goar Papikian, told AFP.

"They showed themselves to be true heroes .. our people will always remember them," Papikian added.

Aram Karapetian, 35, urged an amicable solution to the stand-off.

"We have to stop this war and sit down and talk. This four-day war has shown that Azerbaijan's weapons cannot resolve the issue of Nagorny-Karabakh, Karapetian said.

The bulk of the international community recognises the disputed territory as part of Azerbaijan.

The 1990s conflict ended in a Russian-brokered 1994 ceasefire but thw two sides never signed a peace deal.

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