Protest against biolabs held outside Armenian health protection agency

Armenia –

Activists staged a protest outside the Armenian National Center for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC) in Yerevan against the activities of biolaboratories in the country.

Members of the KAMQ NGO and the liberation movement were among the protesters led by Ara Zohrabyan, who heads the opposition Zartonk (Awakening) party.

Zohrabyan says that eight biolabs funded by the U.S. Department of Defense are operating in Armenia, including in Lori, Shirak, Tavush and Syunik Provinces, which may pose a serious threat to Armenia's security and the health of Armenians.

"You must have heard rumors that biological weapons are being developed in these laboratories, agents for bioweapons are being made," he told reporters, adding that the public has not taken the matter seriously.

Zohrabyan called attention to the uproar which arose in Ukraine and Georgia over the activities of the laboratories. In particular, he recalled that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland confirmed the operations of U.S.-funded biological research facilities in Ukraine. In addition, there was a scandal in Georgia over experiments on 240 patients with hepatitis C.

The protesters demanded a transparent investigation into the operations of biolabs in Armenia.

"Our country is not a testing ground and dignified Armenian citizens are not guinea pigs," Zohrabyan said.