UNITED JAVAKH ACCUSES GEORGIAN AND ARMENIAN AUTHORITIES OF COLLUSION, REQUESTING TO RELEASE ITS LEADER
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Regnum, Russia
Oct 16 2006

On October 15, one of Samtskhe-Javakheti (Armenian-populated Georgian region) NGOs United Javakh (UJ) carried out protest rally near Armenian border check-point at Armenian-Georgian border in connection with attack on one of the NGO's leaders Vahagn Chakhalyan, his family and his companion Gurgen Shirinyan on October 9 near Yerevan. As it is known, after the event happened, Vaag Chakhalyan was arrested by Armenian authorities, being accused of illegal state border's crossing. According to the action's activists, it is aimed at neither aggravating situation in region nor applying any powerful scenarios. The United Javakh believes it has received no less than 70% of votes at elections to sacrebulo (local governing body - REGNUM) it is aiming at changing election committee's decision. The UJ leaders believe there is collusion between Georgian and Armenian authorities, which try not to allow continuing the UJ activity, turning to criminals, as well as to approve falsified election "outcomes." In such way, according to the organization's members, they are struggling in Samtskhe-Javakheti not because of any ambitions; it is connected with normal request to guarantee legal foundations for local elections' conducting. According to on of the protesters, "if Georgians in Tbilisi have right on revolutions, why do Armenians in Akhalkalaki have no such rights?" About 500 residents of Akhalkalaki area participated in the manifestation. The action's participants stressed; having detained Chakhalyan in Armenian territory, republican authorities considerably damaged their authority among Georgian Armenians. Of course, such feelings will spread in Armenia, too. "At presence, very serious and unclear situation has arisen for ethnic Armenians in Georgia and first of all in Samtskhe-Javakheti. In such situation, when international public opinion has completely deviated from assessing political and social processes, developing in Georgia, necessity to make serious decisions appeared for Armenian population in Samtskhe-Javakheti. The Armenian population of Samtskhe-Javakheti needs local self-governing more than any Georgian region. Whoever were elected or appointed to sacrebulo, they will need to settle problems. Nobody will escape it. It refers both to patriots and those, who sincerely believe that the only way out of the arisen situation is to follow lead of 'Young Georgians.' All of them are no enemies for their nation; all of them may make many useful things. Open 'collaborators' are rare in the region."