Yerevan Police Clash With Opposition MPs

Armenia - Opposition MP Zaruhi Postanjian scuffles with a police officer, Yerevan,03Mar2011
Armenia - Opposition MP Zaruhi Postanjian scuffles with a police officer, Yerevan,03Mar2011

RFE/RL – About two dozen people, among them opposition members of Armenia’s parliament, clashed with riot police on Thursday as they protested against a controversial ban on street trade in Yerevan.

The incident took place outside the Armenian main government building during a weekly session of Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian’s cabinet.
Robert Melkonian, a controversial deputy chief of the Yerevan police specializing in crowd control, ordered his men to push the protesters away from the building, saying that gatherings held there violate Armenian law. The police met with resistance as they shoved and jostled the tiny crowd.

Armernia -- Riot police arrest a man during an antigovernment protest in Yerevan, 3Mar2011.
Armernia -- Riot police arrest a man during an antigovernment protest in Yerevan, 3Mar2011.
“Don’t you dare to touch any of these people,” screamed Zaruhi Postanjian, one of the parliament deputies from the opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party attending the protest.

“Grab their hands and drop them into the cars,” Melkonian told the policemen. “Take part in parliament sessions, Madam Deputy,” he said, turning to Postanjian.

Armen Martirosian, another Zharangutyun deputy manhandled during the incident, got in a bitter shouting match with a police lieutenant-colonel as he tried unsuccessfully to prevent the arrest of an opposition activist also participating in the action.

“Don’t you see who I am? Take off your glasses and have a closer look,” yelled the officer.

The detained man, Vardges Gaspari, was released from police custody several hours later.

Anahit Bakhshian, another Zharangutyun lawmaker, felt unwell during the scuffle and was hospitalized from the scene.

Martirosian and Stepan Safarian, Zharangutyun’s parliamentary leader, met with Sarkisian shortly after the incident. According to Safarian, the prime minister ordered the chief of the Armenian police, Alik Sargsian, to investigate the police actions.

The police defended those actions, however. A police statement issued later in the day said the opposition lawmakers and other protesters disrupted “public order” and ignored “legitimate police demands.” The statement also claimed that demonstrations held outside the prime minister’s office “impede the normal work of Armenia’s government.”

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6 thoughts on “Yerevan Police Clash With Opposition MPs

  1. ara I’m tired of seeing these vids of my ppl fighting with police
    ingore the police, they want you to fight with them so that they are justified for hurting/harming you in whatever fashion they see fit. they want you to harm them so that they have an excuse to jail you (ara same thing happens in america) it breaks my heart to always see these vids, heriq e aylevs ayspes eq anum eli. urish dzevov gtni krvelu, voch te ayspisi fizikapes, ay im Hayer jan dzer caver tanem. this heritage meritage party whatever it is, this is the raffi “the turk paid spy backed by LTP” hovhannisyan party, che? with out a doubt this has LTP written all over it. both RH & LTP are doing this, getting their supporters and MP’s to make trouble in the streets and bring about another March 1st. I am beginning to fear, I dont want to see my homeland in another mass anarchy chaos state again. this is not fair to the “commoners” who are trying to make Hayastan better for their children

  2. http://www.hamovhayer.com/harcazruycner/9308-urvagic-03032011
    Here’s the deputy “police” chief defending the response. This guy should be fired on the spot for making political statements. He fails to explain what exactly “hasarakakan karg” is and how one disrupts or doesn’t disrupt it and keeps going back to the fact that the protesters were hurling insults at “our” ministers (his emphasis, not mine), and “our” government. So presumably if they had yelled “we love you Tigran!” they wouldn’t be disrupting order and the lives of other citizens, and the police wouldn’t have intervened?

    The thing I hate the most is these superficial and out-of-context comparisons with the US and the insistence that the police in the US is more brutal. It probably is, but US citizens/residents are treated the same regardless of political affiliation and point of view, that’s the difference. If these protesters in front of the gov’t building today were pro-Serjik, absolutely nothing would’ve happened to them no matter how loud or disruptive they got. What a disgrace.

    1. Hayastanci, yes ‘rusner, durs hayastanic’ kargakhosin koghm em bayc ed saytum haka-gharabaghyan uj@ lav chi. Inch anenq vor Rk-n u Serjik@ gharabaghci en. Mi amboghj joghovrdi chi kareli datel mi qani ptatz khndzorneri patjarov.

  3. nazarian, ova dem gharabaghcinerin asa xndrem? khosq@ gnum e miayn petakan pashtonner zbaghecnelu iravunqi masin, uremn, lriv skhal es haskacel HAYASTANCi SHARZHUM@ kam el gharabaghci es

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