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PHOTOS: Occupy Mashtots Park Activists Regroup. Prepare Grounds for Demolition

The brigade of activists intending to dismantle the shops in the central Yerevan park came to the park at 11 am today to declare their future plans. Brigade member Manvel Sargsyan said today they will go past the barricades surrounding the shops and begin demolition work. After this declaration, Sargsyan gave police officers the opportunity to respond, to say whether they had changed their position or continue to prohibit activists from beginning demolition work.

Yerevan Deputy Police Chief Karen Movsisyan informed activists that the police has not changed its position and the brigade’s assessment of police actions as being unlawful is purely an opinion. The deputy police chief insisted that police will continue to protect private property, and if anyone goes past the barricades it will be considered an illegal act.

After the negotiations between the two camps, a few members of the 10-person strong brigade — Armen Movsisyan, Andreas Ghukasyan and Armen Hovhannisyan — attempted to slip past the brigades only to be pushed out by police.

Yerevan Deputy Police Chief Robert Melkonyan, in turn, urged officers not to apply force on members of the demolition brigade.

However, another attempt by an activist, Saro Saroyan, to go past the brigades again received the same response by police. Police also applied force to brigade member Tigran Khzmalyan, pushing him to the ground. Officers then urged him to get up from off the ground, saying police officers would never lay a finger on someone for no reason. In response, Khzmalyan reminded police of its actions on Mar. 1, 2008, saying, “I’ve seen Mar. 1; I’ve seen Oct. 27 [1999] — leave me alone.” Following his remarks, activists chanted, “You’re staging Mar. 1 for boutiques!”

The brigade then held a meeting at which time Manvel Sargsyan urged activists not to exhaust their strength and not to pay attention to the police.

According to Sargsyan, today they won’t carry out any demolition work but will create conditions for demolition, by measuring and marking the area.