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Grisha Balasanyan

Kajaran Mayor Resigns in Protest; Vows to Fight Mining Interests

Yesterday, Kajaran Mayor Rafik Atayan told Hetq that he has resigned from his post and from the ruling Republican Party as well.

Atayan says he’s been pressured by the party to sign off on a contract that would allocate Kajaran municipal lands to the Zangezur Copper Molybdenum Combine. He wouldn’t agree to the deal and has resigned in protest.

The former mayor told Hetq that he will fight alongside Kajaran residents to oppose the land swap.

“The entire village has decided to oppose the deal. We will not cave in and hand our homes over to anyone,” Atayan stated.

The government has decided to hand over Kajaran property and lands from neighboring villages to the mining company in an “eminent domain” deal.

Zangezur Combine has brought in heavy equipment to Kajaran to start exploratory mining, but residents have so far prevented the company from doing so.