The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) should not finance the Armenian Police, since the latter promotes violence and terror, social activist, lawyer Artur Grigoryan said during a protest action held across the street from the Residence of the President of Armenia on Wednesday, May 20. “A claim has been submitted to the OSCE, signed by hundreds of citizens, demanding that the organization stop financing the RA Police. And what have we received? Nothing. Moreover, the number of law enforcement agencies being funded by various organizations, particularly the OSCE, has only grown,” Grigoryan said.
Around 100 protesters gathered near the presidential residence in a protest action condemning the violence used by police officers against the parents of soldiers who died in the Armenian army in non-combat conditions. The demonstrators held signs reading “Every soldier is my son”, “We demand a just investigation into the murders”, “Soldiers should be protected”, “The Army is a meat grinder.”
The participants urged the Special Investigation Service of Armenia to institute legal proceedings against the police officers who used force, and called on the RA Police to issue a public apology to the victims.
The protest action was attended by representatives of NGOs, individuals, human rights defenders, and MPs of the RA National Assembly. Yesterday, May 19, “Armenian National Congress” opposition faction secretary Aram Manukyan urged his colleagues at the Parliament to join in the protest; today, Manukyan was joined by “Armenian National Congress” faction leader Levon Zurabyan, who stated that the Police do not have the right to use force against the parents holding peaceful demonstrations.
“Police officers can disperse the rally if the participants have resorted to violence, or when public order is in serious danger," the MP said.
“No one in Armenian should be able to sleep peacefully when the mother of a deceased soldier is being dragged [during demonstrations]. If we have a little dignity, we have to stand by these parents. So much as a hair should not be harmed on our soldiers' head. That's why we've gathered here. Those who use force against these people are executioners, butchers, janissaries,” Aram Manukyan said.
Today's protest action was also attended by Hasmik Hovhannisyan, mother of lieutenant Artak Nazaryan [ARM], deceased on July 27, 2010 in the military unit “Mehrab” in Tavush region of Armenia.
Irina Ghazaryan, mother of Artur Ghazaryan [ARM] who died in the Army in 2010, in a conversation with Epress.am explained her absence by health problems, while Hovsep Muradyan, father of Arman Muradyan who died in 2013, said that he had to go to the hospital for a check-up.