Armenia lawmakers brawl in parliament, throw bottles at each other

Armenia lawmakers brawl in parliament, throw bottles at each other

PanARMENIAN.Net - Lawmakers staged a scuffle in the Armenian National Assembly on Wednesday, August 25. The members of parliament were filmed throwing bottles and cups at each other and trading insults, one day after the session was interrupted by a similar incident sparked by the removal of an opposition lawmaker.

On Tuesday, security guards removed opposition lawmaker Anna Mkrtchyan from the parliament after she called Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and his loyalists "capitulants", during Pashinyan's presentation of a five-year government action plan. Her removal sparked a brawl between the guards and lawmakers from "I Have Honor" and Armenia blocs.

Security guards were called into the Armenian parliament hall on Wednesday too, as pro-government clashed with opposition lawmakers during the presentation of the government program.

In his speech today Hayk Sargsian, a member of the ruling Civil Contract faction, in particular, criticized the former governments for their mishandling of the economy and army affairs that led to large-scale out-migration and a decrease in the country’s defense capabilities before the 2018 “velvet revolution.” He said that the new Pashinian government did not have enough time to redress the situation.

In an apparent reference to opposition criticism that some members of the current government did not serve in the army, Sargsian said that all former defense ministers during whose tenures people were exempted from military service by phone calls were “traitors.”

Sargsian’s remarks sparked a quarrel in the chamber between pro-government and opposition lawmakers as the main opposition Hayastan faction is led by former defense minister Seyran Ohanian.

As lawmakers began to throw water bottles at each other, Parliament Speaker Alen Simonian interrupted the session and called in security guards to restore order in the chamber.

Several lawmakers, including Civil Contract member Hrachya Hakobian, were removed from the chamber, the Armenian Service of RFE/RL rerports.

Hakobian later told reporters that the brawl was provoked by Ohanian, who threw a water bottle in the direction of Sargsian.

Ohanian did not comment immediately on the accusation. He denied any fistfights inside the session hall where access to media has been restricted since early August. Ohanian said, however, that his glasses were broken in the jostle.

Another brawl in the parliament between pro-government and opposition members broke out shortly after the lawmakers resumed work. It began during the speech of opposition Hayastan faction member Vahe Hakobian. Another break in the session was announced and security guards were called in.

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