Participants of the action against the festival of Azerbaijani films in Giumri, April 11, 2012. Photo by Sergei Khachatryan

12 April 2012, 19:00

An action against the festival of Azerbaijani films passed off in Giumri

On April, 11, an action of protest was held in Vardanants square of the town of Giumri, Armenia. Its participants came out in opposition against the festival of Azerbaijani films "STOP" planned on April, 12.

The festival "STOP" was organized with the support of the Caucasian center of peacemaking initiatives and the embassies of Great Britain and the USA. A show of four short films (one documentary and there feature films) created in 2007-2008 is planned within the framework of the festival. The winner is to be chosen upon the results of voting in only one nomination, i.e. "Audience Award", the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent reports.

In its message the Caucasian center of peacemaking initiatives pointed out that the festival of Azerbaijani films was going to become a platform for direct communication between the two communities.

"Our community knows only Azerbaijani propaganda presented to us. By means of these films we will be able to see the other side of the coin", Head of the Center Georgy Vanyan declared.

Holding the festival is planned in "Asparez" journalists' club.

The festival encountered public protests

The action of protest in Giumri was organized on the initiative of Arman Saakyan, candidate for deputy of National Assembly of Armenia. Mayor's office of Giumri headed by Mayor Vardan Gukasyan, representatives of higher and secondary schools joined the action. The goal of all the speeches was to prohibit the festival "STOP".

During the action it was decided to hold a meeting at 11:00, April, 12, at the entrance of "Asparez" club and not let the participants come into the building.

An action of protest is also planned in Yerevan where a procession is going to be held. During the action a letter will be handed to the Minister of Culture of Armenia with the participants' demand to prohibit actions like this.

Mikhael Adjapakhyan, head of the eparchy of Armenian Apostolic Church, says that he is "upset and surprised" with the fact of holding the festival, " Armenpress" reports.

Karen Vrtanesyan, Head of public cultural organization "Zharang" (Heir), declared that he considered nonsensical holding even two symmetrical cultural actions at present for he did "not see the slightest desire in the Azerbaijani community to discuss anything with the Armenians except unconditional surrender of Karabakh".

Meanwhile, the idea of holding the festival of Azerbaijani films in Armenia is not supported at the state level in Azerbaijan, too.

In particular, Yusif Sheihov, head of a sector of the Department of cinematography of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan, in his interview to said that "for the reason of occupation policy of Armenia the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Azerbaijan does not participate in joint actions with that country within state boundaries and is not going to do it in the future", he said.

It should be mentioned that an attempt to hold a similar festival in Armenia in 2010 failed. The Caucasian center of peacemaking initiatives tried to organize a festival of Azerbaijani films on November, 12, 2010, in Yerevan. As a result the shows were frustrated.

According to Head of the Center Georgy Vanyan, "the festival did not fail, it was just blocked by a group of people by means of blackmail and terror".

Author: Armine Martirosyan; Source: CK correspondent

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