The Azerbaijan flag was grabbed and set on fire during the competition’s opening ceremony by a guy who ran onto the stage. Later, Azerbaijan withdrew from the European Weightlifting Championships on Saturday in Armenia’s capital.
The players and those who were with them have reportedly left Armenia. According to the youth and sports ministry of Azerbaijan.
The individual who took the flag, according to Armenian officials, was a public television employee. He had been invited to the opening ceremony. After the incident, he was escorted to a police station but later released without being charged.
Video of the event from Saturday shows a guy grabbing the flag and setting it ablaze. Thus, prompting an outraged joint statement from the National Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Azerbaijan. They denounced it as a “barbaric act” and pointed to it as evidence of racial and ethnic disrespect. Further claiming Armenia was unqualified to protect athletes and host world championships.
Below is the video of the burning of Azerbaijan flag:
Armenia disagreed, claiming that the issue was promptly rectified and there was no risk to tournament competitors. With the single road from Armenia to the ethnically Armenian area of Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan being blocked, tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan have gotten worse recently.
In 1994, ethnic Armenian soldiers supported by Yerevan took control of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas. However, a six-week battle in 2020 saw a large portion of the region revert to Azerbaijani rule.
Since the Soviet Union, of which they were both a part, collapsed in 1991, ties between the two nations have been hostile.
Since then, they have fought two significant wars over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous region that is accepted internationally as belonging to Azerbaijan but is primarily populated by ethnic Armenians. Within the last week, violence claimed the lives of seven soldiers.
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