ArmInfo. Employees of the tourist units of Lake Sevan began to protest on July 15, blocking the Yerevan-Sevan highway and part of the roads leading to the village of Gagarin, bypassing the lake.
The protesters demand that the Ministry of Healthcare and the members of the government issue an official denial of information that swimming in Lake Sevan is unsafe for health. To recall, a few days ago, the Ministry of Healthcare of Armenia issued a statement in which it asked citizens not to swim in places where water pollution by blue-green algae was observed, listing the symptoms that people may have after swimming in such water.
According to the protesters against the background of this information, the owners and tenants of beaches, cafes, restaurants faced a sharp reduction in the flow of tourists. In addition, the protesters are convinced that swimming in Sevan is more than safe. <10 months we were out of work, and now that the season has arrived, the authorities are blocking our work. They do it deliberately, so that citizens do not come to rest on Sevan>, the protesters say.
It should be noted that before the blockade of roads, the governor of Gegharkunik region, Gnel Sanosyan, and the mayor of the Sevan city Sargis Muradyan, met the protesters and promised to discuss the situation with the heads of the competent government bodies, but the protesters continued to express their demand. Later, an MP from the ruling "My Step" bloc, head of the Volunteer Union "Yerkrapah" Sasun Mikaelyan talked with the crowd, calling to wait for an official statement, and if no real action was followed from the ministry, he promised to personally join the action. After the call of the head of the "Yerkrapah" Union of Volunteers the protesters unblocked the roads.
As ArmInfo was told in the Department of Public Relations of the Ministry of Healthcare, in its statement of July 11, the ministry clearly stated about avoiding swimming only in those places where there are blue- green algae. "The statement did not say that swimming in the lake is prohibited. In the message, we recommended citizens to refrain from swimming only in those places where there is blue-green algae. In the end, swimming in algae is basically unpleasant. We do not understand what the essence of the protesters 'claims is," the department said, noting that against the background of the protests, no statements are planned about the current situation by the Ministry of Healthcare.