Armenian activists occupy highway and block three border crossings | ...


Hoogstraten / Rekkem / MaasmechelenArmenian activists blocked the highway at the border crossing in Maasmechelen, Meer and Rekkem for a while this morning around 8 am. After they rode in a column, they slowed and got out. With the action, they ask that Europe intervene in the conflict in the controversial Nagorno-Karabakh area. Armenia and Azerbaijan have been fighting a bloody war there since September 27. The activists have since left after the intervention of the police.

The Armenians from both the Netherlands and Belgium are taking action out of “pure despair”. While they realize that blocking the highway will not immediately generate much understanding, they felt it was time for a more drastic action. They have held peaceful demonstrations since the outbreak of the conflict, but hardly any attention was paid to them. The activists demand that Belgium and the European Union speak out clearly against the attacks by Azerbaijan.

In Maasmechelen there were about 40 activists. “They stopped their cars, got out and blocked the road,” says Mayor Raf Terwingen. “That led to dangerous situations on the highway. The police immediately drove there and distracted everyone towards the Maasmechelen carpool. There they finally left. By 9 am the E314 was free again for all traffic. ”

Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed border region recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but in the 1990s, the region where mostly ethnic Armenians live left the country. Since then there have been more conflicts, but not as intense as at present. At least 70,000 people are said to have fled the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia and the conflict already claimed several hundred dead in a few weeks.

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Armenians occupy the border crossing on the E19 in Meer (Hoogstraten). © Toon Verheijen
Armenians occupy the border crossing on the E19 in Meer (Hoogstraten).
Armenians occupy the border crossing on the E19 in Meer (Hoogstraten). © Toon Verheijen
The blockades led to a traffic jam in no time.
The blockades led to a traffic jam in no time. © Verheijen

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