Former Yerevan mayor Hayk Marutyan has announced that he will run in the upcoming mayoral election on September 17. “Are the officials who once presented themselves as revolutionaries today not starting to act using old methods? Have we achieved what we stood up for as a nation in 2018?” Marutyan said in a video published on his Facebook page. Marutyan is a popular comedian who was elected mayor as part of PM Nikol Pashinyan’s political team following the 2018 Velvet Revolution. In December 2021, the Civil Contract Party ousted him for “disloyalty.” Marutyan claimed that he was at odds with members of the ruling party, because he had refused to provide them with illegal construction permits.
A war veteran group traveled to the entrance of the Berdzor Corridor on August 9 to demand that Armenian authorities take action to unblock the road and deliver humanitarian aid to blockaded Artsakh. The Crusaders said that they were obstructed by the police from accessing the convoy of trucks carrying 400 tons of humanitarian aid that has been stranded for weeks. Azerbaijani border guards stopped the two dozen trucks, sent by the Armenian government, from entering Artsakh on July 26. The previous day, Armenian police detained 14 members of the war veteran group during a protest in central Yerevan outside government buildings.
Labor rights activist Afiaddin Mammadov has been arrested for the third time in less than a year and sentenced to 30 days in prison. Afiaddin is the chair of the Workers’ Table Trade Unions Confederation. He was on his way home from a labor rights protest on August 1 when he was detained by police officers in plainclothes and charged with disobeying the police. He was reportedly tortured in detention and denied access to an attorney. Afiaddin, who has launched a hunger strike to protest his detention, says that his arrest is politically motivated in response to his labor activism.
Criticisms of the Georgian government have been mounting after a landslide in Shovi killed at least 18 people. At least 16 people remain missing after the banks of the River Buba burst on August 3, triggering a mudslide that swept through the Shovi resort in Georgia’s north. The Georgian government has deployed the army, emergency services and volunteers for search and rescue operations. Survivors have criticized the Georgian government, stating that they did not receive any evacuation alerts prior to the landslide. The ruling Georgian Dream party has promised several times to establish monitoring and early warning systems throughout the country at sites vulnerable to natural disasters, yet has not followed through.