YEREVAN—Armenia’s Emergency Ministry said hundreds of people have been injured after clusters of balloons exploded in Republic Square during a Republican Party of Armenia election rally ahead of Sunday’s vote.
The ministry also said 144 of them had to be hospitalized with burns after Friday’s explosion, which it said was caused by a smoker who lit a cigarette near the balloons.
According to information provided by the ministry, 30 people were taken to Yerevan’s Radiotherapy Center; 20 to Heratsi hospital, 20 to Ambulance Service hospital; 20 to Nairi medical center; 20 to Armenia medical center; 9 to Clinical Hospital No 1; seven to Muratsan medical center; and two children were taken to Surb Astvatsatsin maternity hospital.
The balloons were supposed to be flown at the Republican Party’s rally that drew tens of thousands of Armenians. Despite the accident, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian addressed the rally with a speech.
Sarkisian later toured the hospitals where the injured were transported and visited the victims of the accident.