Society 13:06 09/11/2017 Armenia

Armenian students stage fresh protest in Yerevan

Dozens of students from different departments of the Yerevan State University walked out of classes early Thursday to stage a fresh round of protest against the new bill that abolishes the temporary exemptions from compulsory military service for graduate and undergraduate students studying at the country’s state universities.  

“Even if there is one student who is against the general idea, his/her opinion must be taken into account,” Hayk Petrosyan, one of the organizers of the rally, announced today, stating the number of the protesting students actually exceeds the reported 400.

He added the neutral stance further hampers the existing processes. 

Earlier the students unveiled their plan to stage a walkout in the front of the government building today, with the first strike held on 7 November.

To note, the new amendments into the Armenian law “On Military Duty and Military Service” was initiated by the defense ministry and was adopted in the first reading by the parliament days ago. According to the proposed legislation, citizens liable for call-up are conscripted to army for compulsory service, while draft deferments are granted to only those students who would agree to undergo parallel military training and serve in the army as officers for three years after graduation.

Critics of the legislation point to the adverse impact of the new law on the education and science, suggesting the abolishment of conscription deferments will prevent prospective students from professional, scientific or educational activities. Meanwhile, the proponents of the law insist the deferments are a violation of social justice. Additionally, cancelling all exemptions for compulsory service would minimize corruption risks in the military and educations spheres in cases when eligible citizens would wish to avoid the army.

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