YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Security officers dragged an Armenian opposition lawmaker from the parliament podium after he strongly criticized one of his pro-government colleagues on October 26.
The incident occurred during a heated debate in the National Assembly on opposition demands for a parliamentary inquiry into the alleged misuse of funds collected by a government-backed pan-Armenian charity for Nagorno-Karabakh during last year’s war with Azerbaijan.
Vigen Khachatryan, a deputy from the ruling Civil Contract party, accused the parliamentary opposition of trying to discredit the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund and the Armenian government with various “abominations.”
Gegham Manukyan of the main opposition Hayastan alliance responded by recalling and condemning Khachatryan’s recent remark that continued Armenian control over Karabakh is not vital for Armenia.
“He who renounces Artsakh (Karabakh) is a traitor,” Manukyan charged on the parliament floor.
Ruben Rubinyan, the parliament’s pro-government deputy speaker chairing the session, accused Manukyan of breaching “ethical rules” before switching off his microphone and ordering uninformed officers of the State Protection Service (SPS) to forcibly remove the prominent oppositionist from the podium. The session was interrupted as a result.