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Updated: Police Forcibly Remove Protestor Who Sewed his Mouth Shut Outside Presidential Palace

A resident of Etchmiadzin, who sewed his mouth shut on Monday and began a hunger strike and sit-in outside the president's residence, was forcibly shoved into an ambulance by 4 police officers at around 11:50 am today. Ashot Khudoyan is protesting the actions of the court, general prosecution, cadastre, and notary, all of which, according to him, have aided in the forging of his grandfather's will. 

Recall, Ashot's brother, mother (who is living in the US), and sister (living in Yerevan) are suing Ashot for their right to own their ancestral home in the center of Etchmiadzin. This is not the first time Ashot has been pleading his case outside the presidential palace; in the past he has brought his wife and four young children with him. Last week, in conversation with Epress.am, he said that as soon as the prosecution receives his letter he will sew his mouth and begin a 7-day hunger strike. 

Today, while police were getting Ashot into an ambulance, his 8-year-old daughter, who was with him outside the president's residence, began to cry. Passers-by gathered tried to shame the police, ask about the need for such measures, but the law enforcement officials were resolute.

The Epress.am correspondent managed to take a photo of the moment Ashot was being removed from the scene. After the ambulance left, police officers likewise quickly departed. Asked by Epress.am why the protesting man was taken away, one of the officers, who didn't identify himself, said: "He had an injury; they wanted to examine him; he didn't want to. His lips were swollen — that's why he was taken away."

Those gathered continued to shame the officers, calling what happened a display of "fascism," saying "it's not something you do in front of a child".

Police spokesperson Armen Malkhasyan, in response to a question by Epress.am, said they don't know yet where Khudoyan's been taken and asked to call back in half an hour. Later, Epress.am was able to get in touch with Khudoyan, who said he's been taken to the hospital in Etchmiadzin.

Update: At around 6:30 pm today, Ashot returned to continue his sit-in in front of the presidential residence. He informed Epress.am that the ambulance that picked him up in the afternoon took him to a psychiatric clinic.

"The order was 'keep him, don't let him go continue his sit-in.' At the psychiatric clinic they brought me up to stay. I was resisting, but no one paid attention to my opposition. Then the police received a call; they came and said, 'Do you want to stay or not?' I said, from the beginning I said you are using force toward me and I've come here not out of my own will. You forcibly brought me to the psychiatric clinic," Ashot said.

According to him, police then received a call after which they brought him to Etchmiadzin — "supposedly they wanted to provide medical assistance."

"But that's all fabricated. If they want to provide medial assistance, why are they using force against someone, breaking his arms, causing harm — why do you apply such measures," he said, adding that he will continue his sit-in and hunger strike.