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Huge Protest Reported in Soviet Armenia

Associated Press

Thousands of Armenians stayed away from their jobs and schools in the republic’s capital, Yerevan, on Friday in a renewed call for annexation of a disputed region in neighboring Azerbaijan, an activist said.

Hovik Vassilyan said that 150,000 people had gathered to demonstrate in a main square in Yerevan and that many schools and factories were closed because of a strike.

“People are everywhere,” said Vassilyan, a former political prisoner and the editor of an unsanctioned Armenian nationalist journal. He spoke by telephone from Yerevan.

Armenians called the open-ended strike to support a work stoppage that started Monday in Nagorno-Karabakh, the disputed region in mainly Muslim Azerbaijan. The work stoppage in Nagorno-Karabakh, populated mostly by Armenians--who are of predominately Christian heritage--is scheduled to end Sunday, Vassilyan said.

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The Armenians are demanding that Nagorno-Karabakh be removed from the control of Azerbaijan and become part of the Armenian republic. The region has been part of Azerbaijan since 1923.


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