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Samson Martirosyan

Yerevan Police Forcibly Remove Families from Abandoned Defense Ministry Building

Early this morning, Yerevan police forcibly removed scores of families living in the abandoned Ministry of Defense building on the outskirts of Yerevan, claiming they are illegal squatters.

An estimated one hundred fifty families, left homeless due to rising rents in the Armenian capital, first moved into the building last year.

The police didn’t allow residents, who light fires outside to keep warm, to take their belongings from the building.

Many complained that while Armenia has sent humanitarian aid to the earthquake zone in Turkey and Syria, the government can’t find them permanent housing.

"They came early in the morning and took us out as if we were terrorists. They dragged us away. They didn't want to hear anything. They didn't care about anything. Children, women, they cared less," says one of the residents.

Residents say they moved to the abandoned building and made basic repairs allowing them to live there.

A Ministry of Internal Affairs official reacted to the resident’s criticism by saying, "We did not invade. We eliminated the invasion.”

In April 2022, the government decided to allocate the building to the State Revenue Committee with plans to establish a foreign economic action center.

 Twelve-year-old Artur, playing with his Doberman, says they don't have any relatives to move in with.

 Neither Artur nor his brothers will go to school tomorrow. Their school supplies were left inside.

Many fear police, in the dead of the night, will remove them from the building environs as well.

Several veterans who fought in Artsakh were also removed from the building.   


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