On the 3rd of August, 9 LGBT+ people were attacked by 30 villagers in Shurnukh, Armenia. Two of them are seriously injured.
Around 8 o’ clock in the evening, Armenian time, a person showed up in front of the house of Hayk Oprah Hakobyan and his family. At that time, Hayk was having a drink with his friends. The person wanted to talk to Hayk, but he refused. Then he jumped over the fence, what happened afterwards is shocking. “He started to threaten us. We had to leave our house immediately, because they were gathering villagers to lynch us.”, according to Hayk.
When Hayk and his friends grabbed their stuff and opened the front door, already 30 people were waiting for them. “In the beginning they were just shouting that homosexuals can’t live in this village, but it became violently very fast. We started running for our life’s. They followed us and started to beaten us up and threw rocks. We all got hurt, but two of my friends are seriously injured and had to go to the hospital immediately. We ran up to the highway till they did not follow us anymore.”
While running for their life’s, they tried to call to police for a second time. “We had to wait for more than an hour for them to show up. But we are hopeful that the attackers will be punished since we recognised a lot of them and we were also able to somehow film them.”
According to Hayk, one of the attackers was Hakob Arshakyan, the former mayor of the village. “My dad recently filed a complaint for corruption against our former mayor. I think this might have been the direct motive for the attack.”
At the moment of the interview, Hayk was on his way to Yerevan with representatives of PINK Armenia (the biggest LGBT+ organisation in the country). “I don’t know yet if I dare to go back to my village. So many people showed up and tried to get me out of there. But at the other side, we shouldn’t just leave, because then they win.”
Social & state homophobia
Earlier this year, a revolution overthrew the political establishment in the country. “People are quite positive about the future in Armenia now. Unfortunately, the Armenian society stays very homophobic. According to ILGA-Europe, Armenia is the third worst country to live in Europe as an LGBT+ person. Before the revolution a new anti-discrimination legislation was on the table. LGBT+ people would were excluded from it in the most recent drafts. This would declare LGBT+ people outlawed.”, according to Rémy Bonny, a political scientist specialised in LGBT+ Politics in post-Communis states.
This story has been published by
- Gay Star News (English)
- LGBTQ Nation (English)
- Advocate (English)
- Eurasianet (English)
- ZiZo (Dutch)
- Queer.pl (Polish)
- GayEcho (Serbian)