By Narine Daneghyan
YEREVAN, Armenia – An explosion of gas balloons during a Republican Party of Armenia rally in the public square Friday injured many people.
The rally, which was being held ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary elections, attracted many thousands of people.
|Flag of Armenia|
News reports said the balloons exploded overhead and started to burn, melting rubber down onto the people at the rally. Emergency services said a cigarette could have caused a fire that led to the explosion, and an investigation is underway.
An announcement from the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Armenia said more than 150 citizens had been hospitalized because of the explosion and that about half of them remained in the hospital.
Armenian President Serj Sargsyan announced that the accident at the Republic Square hurt all of the country’s people.
“Thanks God we avoided irreversible consequences,” Sargsyan said. “At the moment all the injured people receive assistance, while for further recovery, if necessary, the best specialists will be invited to Armenia. The law enforcement bodies have launched an investigation, those guilty will be found and punished in accordance with the law. I call for presence of mind. Let us pray for the injured people and wish them fast recovery.”
I didn’t yet have opportunity to talk with those who were wounded, because most of them are in shock, the others are still in the hospitals.
On thing is clear: such a huge tragedy hasn’t happened in Yerevan for a long time.
Today, Saturday, is called the “day of silence.” Tomorrow Parliamentary elections will be held. This tragedy is a shock for everybody, from the political parties to the civilians.
Check back with Youth Journalism International for updates about the explosion and the elections.