Balloons explode at rally in Armenia; more than 140 injured

More than 140 people suffered burns or other injuries Friday in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia,  when bunches of balloons at a concert and political rally exploded.

The balloons were supposed to be filled with helium but may have instead been filled with methane, said  Aghasi Yenokyan, director of the Center for Political and International Studies, a Yerevan-based think tank.

The incident occurred in downtown Republic Square during events organized by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia as part of the parliamentary election campaign.

During the concert, teenagers were holding hundreds of balloons in their hands when they suddenly exploded in a huge ball of fire. Dozens of people were taken by ambulances to various city hospitals, and then the show went on again.

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-- Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times

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