03 December 2008, 15:45
Yerevan students' rally protests treatment of Armenian churches in Georgia
Yerevan, December 3, Interfax - More than 2,000 students of Armenian universities held a rally on Wednesday protesting against a recent series of events involving Armenian churches in Georgia, including the November 16 desecration of two tombstones on the graves of known Armenians outside Tbilisi's St. Norashen church at the initiative of Georgian Priest Tariel Sikinchelashvili.
The students gathered outside the headquarters of the UN office in Yerevan. They then walked toward the building of the Georgian embassy in Armenia and handed over a letter to Georgian Ambassador Revaz Gachechiladze, demanding that "this illegal conduct of Georgian clergymen be stopped and an appropriate assessment be given to what has happened."
Several years ago, Priest Sikinchelashvili tried to install tombstones with inscriptions in the Georgian language on the premises of the St. Norashen Armenian church. In August 2008, he coordinated efforts to build a fence around the church with symbols allegedly pointing to its belonging to the Georgian Orthodox Church.
Armenian Minister for Diaspora Affairs Granush Akopian told a news conference on Wednesday that "not a single priest has any right to ruin the century-long friendship of the Armenian and Georgian peoples."
Akopian said that the fate of Armenian historical and cultural monuments in Georgia is high on his ministry's agenda.
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