SCORES HURT AS BALLOONS EXPLODE AT ARMENIA RALLY

BBC
4 May 2012

People were gathered in Yerevan's central square for a political
rally ahead of polls on Sunday

Scores of people have been injured in the Armenian capital Yerevan
after clusters of gas balloons exploded at a political rally.

Crowds were attending a government campaign event in the city's
central square ahead of parliamentary polls.

The emergencies ministry said some 144 people had been taken to
hospital with burns, none of them life-threatening.

Initial reports blamed the explosions on a smoker lighting a cigarette
near the balloons.

Health ministry spokesperson Shushan Hananyan told the Novosti Armeniya
news agency that some of the injured were hurt in the panic after
the blast.

Video on Armenian websites showed people screaming and running away,
some of them with their clothes on fire.

Despite the incident, President Serge Sarkisian went on to address
thousands of people at the rally.

The balloons were decorated with the governing Republican Party's
slogan "let's believe in change".




From: A. Papazian