On February 12, 1988, national liberation movement against Azerbaijani invaders kicked off in Artsakh. Nagorno Karabakh Republic’s Hadrut town hosted the first rally, with participants urging for reunification of Artsakh with Armenia.
According to one of the movement organizers, later the first commander of NKR defense army Arkadi Karapetyan, at the beginning of 1988 rallies, 150 people were getting ready for future rallies by launching signature campaigns, distributing leaflets, disclosing facts of discrimination in protection of national dignity.
The first rally was held on Feb 12, with the movement further gathering pace across Artsakh.
In response to the peaceful demands of Artsakh Armenians, that made up 80% of the total population of Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast (NKAO), Azerbaijan unleashed aggression against the civilians. As a result of 1991-1994 national liberation war, Nagorno Karabakh Republic was proclaimed, with NKR defense army forming a security zone of 7 provinces. The cease-fire was signed in 1994.