For three days there was a tense atmosphere on the way to the second guard post established by the local residents on the road leading to the Amulsar gold quartzite mine. On June 30, 2020, some armed people invaded into the Amulsar guard post from the road leading to Amulsar and Amulsar project area, who introduced themselves as the representativesof the new guarding company in charge for the protection of “Lydian Armenia” CJSC property. They were demonstratively holding weapons in their hands on the highway leading to Jermuk. Meanwhile, according to Amulsar defenders, the guards can carry their weapons only in the area of Amulsar mine, where the property of "Lydian Armenia" CJSC is located.
In the evening of the same day, due to the discussions between the residents of Jermuk community, the security service and the police, an arrangement was reached that the new security service will continue to operate like the previous security company, in other words, only 2-3 people on duty will remain in the Amulsar area, they will not be armed, and the other security guards, who are not on duty at the moment, will not stay in the Amulsar area. Nevertheless, the next day, on July 1, the security company did not keep the arrangement reached earlier. In the area of the second guard post, more guards of the security service had gathered than it had been agreed beforehand. Jermuk residents demanded to act in accordance with the arrangement reached, which failed. A clash took place between Jermuk residents and the employees of the security company. Police arrived at the scene.
On 1 July Bankwatch contacted the EBRD's Office of the Chief Compliance Officer and the bank's Accountability Mechanism to inform them about rising tensions at Amulsar. Bankwatch requested that the Compliance and Accountability Offices get in contact with the bank's project team, Yerevan office and the client, to convey the expectation that Lydian will actively engage with the police and other agencies to avoid the use of force at the project site.
Bankwatch appealed to the EBRD to ensure that any provocations and attempts to remove the blockade by use of force should be avoided. “Gaining access to the mine by force will not help the company to gain a social license and is likely to cause further exacerbation of conflicts in the community,” CEE BankWatch request says.
The EBRD Accountability mechanism responded promptly to the call and informed that the appeal has been communicated to the Amulsar project team and the EBRD's office in Yerevan.
CEE BankWatch reminds Lydian that the EBRD Environmental and Social Policy outlines clear provisions related to the Bank's expectations of security force conduct, namely that the client "will not sanction any use of force except when used for preventive and defensive purposes in proportion to the nature and extent of the threat".
On the evening of July 1, the reserve staff of the new security company left the Amulsar project area. On July 2, 4 cars entered the Amulsar area again. Jermuk residents also arrived at the second guard point. Shirak Buniatyan, a Jermuk resident, announced this going live on Facebook. He noted that everything is calm, but people are gathering. Shirak Buniatyan also said that according to the reliable information they received, many of the security guards have a high fever.
16:43 July 02, 2020