3 stabbed during California protest over Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

West

FRESNO, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — A suspect is in custody after three people were stabbed in central California during a protest to bring awareness to the violent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan, police said.

Fresno police said three people were stabbed at the demonstration in front of the River Park Shopping Center Wednesday night. Roughly 150 people attended the protest.

The victims range in age from 18 to 26, and all have non-life threatening injuries, according to police.

Police said the protest’s organizers blocked an intersection with four parked vehicles in an effort to catch drivers’ attention.

One driver stuck in traffic due to the road blockage exited his vehicle and confronted the demonstrators, NewsNation affiliate KGPE reported.

Witnesses reported seeing the driver withdraw a knife or stick and swing at the protesters, police said.

Authorities said a suspect involved in the stabbing was arrested late Wednesday.

Police haven’t yet announced whether any charges will be filed. No other details were available, as of early Thursday.

For decades, Armenia and Azerbaijan have been in conflict over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The U.S. brokered a ceasefire after the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with both country’s foreign ministers in D.C., but it was quickly violated and hostilities resumed.

On Wednesday, rockets hit a hospital and residential areas in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijani authorities denied responsibility and in turn accused Armenia of launching a rocket strike on the town of Barda that killed more than 20 civilians and wounded over 70. Armenia rejected the accusations.

NewsNation affiliate KGPE and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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