Echoes of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Catalonia favoring Armenia

Protests to bring attention to violence in Caucasus block motorway near Pyrenees as Catalan parliament supports Yerevan

Protest on the AP-7about the Armenia-Azerbaijan on October 24, 2020 (photo by Gerard Vilà)
Protest on the AP-7about the Armenia-Azerbaijan on October 24, 2020 (photo by Gerard Vilà) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

October 26, 2020 01:53 PM

These past months, Catalonia has seen a range of actions highlighting the fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia, including parliamentary declarations condemning Azerbaijan’s use of force.

For instance, on Saturday, more than 300 people from the Armenian community in Catalonia blocked the AP-7, a motorway, in Agalluna near the Pyrenees. The protest, which lasted four hours, aimed to draw attention to the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan following renewed clashes in the area. 

Protests centred around the Turkish involvement in the area but also the lack of response and help from Europe. Banners with “no to terrorism” were seen, referencing Turkey allowing Jihadists into the zone of conflict.

This is not the first time the Armenian population of Catalonia has demonstrated however with protests taking place in September also.

Background of the conflict

The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan has been ongoing for three decades now but also has precedence in the conflicts post-WWI in the area following the fall of the Ottoman empire. 

It centers around the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. This area is internationally known as part of Azerbaijan. However, since 1991 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Armenian population in the area has been claiming independence calling itself the Republic of Artsakh.

Renewed fighting

On September 27, fighting began again despite a ceasefire being brokered that same day by the US. Since then more than 100 people have been confirmed dead on the Armenian side and Azerbaijan has not released its figures.

Reaction in Catalonia

Apart from the protests this weekend, the Armenian community in Catalonia has been vocal about the issues in their country of origin. 

On September 30, hundreds of people gathered outside the Turkish embassy in Barcelona. They condemned military strikes in Armenia, and claimed participation from Turkey against Armenian border posts.

Earlier this month on October 10, Armen Knyzazyan, an Armenian businessman living in the coastal tourist town of Lloret de Mar was the victim of a drone strike. Knyzazyan had left to go fight in Armenia when the attacks began again. He was repatriated and buried in the town.

Catalan parliament

The Catalan Parliament also voiced their opinion on the matter. On October 22, they released a statement that condemned the attacks on September 27, sending condolences to the families of the deceased, urged respect for the ceasefire and reinforced the importance of solving these struggles through peace talks under international supervision. 

They also voiced their support for the right of self-determination in the area. All Catalan parties supported the motion except for right-wing People's Party and Ciudadanos.