Four individuals charged with illegally cutting down 21 healthy trees in Dilijan National Park on August 13 told police that what they did was their way of voicing opposition to the government’s crackdown on using trees in the park for firewood.
All four are residents of Haghartzin, a village bordering the park. Two of the four are park wardens.
On July 24, residents of Haghartzin and surrounding villages blocked the M4 highway linking Armenia and Georgia and demanded that the government allow them to enter Dilijan National Park to cut down trees to be used for fuel.
The illegal felling comes two days after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the area and, at a meeting with residents, called for a halt to the slow destruction of the park.