“You've cut the roots of my tree, you're worried about some flowers?,” Heriknaz Muradyan, mother of deceased soldier Armen Muradyan, shouted at police officers on Thursday, June 11, on the sidewalk across the street from the RA presidential palace, near the Marshal Baghramyan metro station. Heriknaz Muradyan and her husband, Hovsep Muradyan, were enraged by the statement of an officer who was pushing the woman that “she was stomping on the flowers” near the sidewalk. In the meantime, some other police officers were pulling at the Muradyans' poster depicting the soldiers who died in the Armenian army in non-combat conditions.
Shortly afterwards, Hovsep Muradyan had another outburst when he noticed a camera directed straight to their faces by a law enforcement officer, vidiotaping the irritated couple.
“Turn that off! You've no right to shoot me!,” Muradyan cried out and ran towards the officer, trying to seize the camera. The policeman pulled away from the man, while the Major coordinating the actions of the officers ordered his subordinates to retreat.
The group of parents who have been holding weekly protests for years demanding fair investigation into their sons' deaths gathered once again near the presidential office on Thursday. However, nearly three dozen law enforcement officers built a barrier, not allowing the parents to approach the residence.
Gohar Sargsyan, mother of Tigran Ohanjanyan who died in the army in 2007, demanded to know what law provided for such police action when the women had come to the residence without any posters and were not holding a protest action. They, Sargsyan claimed, simply wanted to walk by the presidential office. The officers, however, were not responding until a representative of the Armenian Ombudsman's Rapid Response group, who'd been alerted by Hovsep Muradyan, arrived at the scene.
The latter stepped aside with one of the police officers and asked what was the reason for blocking the women's way. The policeman said that the mothers made “inappropriate statements,” and added that they could not let the women approach the office, since “they intend to hold a protest.”
Nana Muradyan, mother of Valery Muradyan who died in the Army in 2010, demanded that the officers read out a law banning protests outside the office of the president. The officers only said that the women could block the entrance and “interfere with the workflow of the office.”
The mothers expressed dissatisfaction with the Ombudsman's office representative, demanding that the latter conducted conversations with policemen in front of them and not stepped aside. In addition, they claimed that Ombudsman Karen Andreasyan was “Serzh Sargsyan's man,” from whom, according to the women, one should not expect any real help.
In the end, the women took to the carriageway, and the police began to push them back towards the sidewalk. When they reached the residence, the women said that their demand remained the same – a meeting with the head of the republic, and taking into account the actions of law enforcement officers, they were holding a silent action, without interfering with “the natural course of the office's work.” The representative of the Ombudsman's office also recorded the fact that the parents were not “interfering with the workflow.”
However, the law enforcement officers formed a chain and pushed the mothers away from the gates of the residence, stating “we're not pushing.” The protesters demanded that the representative of the Ombudsman's Office stood next to them and “felt how [the officers] were pushing.”
“I'm right there beside you,” the official said, standing behind the police chain.