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AKHALKALAKI, JULY 18, ARMENPRESS: Residents of an an-Armenian populated Akhalkalaki in southern Georgia rampaged a local Georgian school and attacked Georgian students from the local branch of Tbilisi State University on Sunday after learning that students “had cleaned up a territory around and inside a church in a remote Samsa village.”

Armenians say what Georgians call “cleaning up” is a systematic drive to appropriate Armenian cultural monuments in the southern Georgia by erasing Armenian-language inscriptions and other signs, testifying to their being Armenian. A local source was quoted by Regnum news agency as saying that Armenians were offended deeply by the news and rose to defend the church from being seized by Georgians.

Local police has started an investigation under a penal code article on ‘religious intolerance.” In a related development a monument in a southern Russian town of Budenovsk erected in commemoration of its Armenian founders was desecrated for the second time in less than six weeks. Yerkramas weekly, published by the local Armenian community, reported the monument had been first vandalized in 2005 February. The newspaper says lampposts circling the monument, the lanterns and a cross-stone were damaged this time and a dead cat was put under its arch.

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