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Azerbaijan weightlifters leave Armenia after flag burned

Flag burning
Flag burning Copyright EBU screen capture
Copyright EBU screen capture
By Euronews with AP
Published on Updated
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Azerbaijan withdrew from the European Weightlifting Championships a day after a man ran onto the stage at the competition's opening ceremony, seized an Azerbaijan flag and set it on fire.

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Azerbaijan withdrew from the European Weightlifting Championships on Saturday in the capital of Armenia a day after a man ran onto the stage at the competition's opening ceremony, seized an Azerbaijan flag and set it on fire.

Azerbaijan's Ministry of Youth and Sports said the athletes and those accompanying them have left Armenia.

Armenian officials said the man who seized the flag was an employee of Armenian public television who was invited to the opening ceremony. He was taken to a police station after the incident but freed without charges.

Animosity between Armenia and Azerbaijan has risen in recent months with the blockade of the only road leading from Armenia to the ethnically Armenian region of Nagorno-Karabakh within Azerbaijan.

Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories came under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Yerevan in 1994, but a six-week war in 2020 returned much of the area to Azerbaijan's control.

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