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Parents of Deceased Soldiers Not Allowed Near Presidential Office, Stage Protest in Front of Police Cordon (Video)

On the morning of June 25, Armenian police prohibited the parents of soldiers who died in the Armenian army in non-combat conditions from walking on Baghramyan Avenue toward the RA Presidential Residence, where the group of parents have been staging weekly protests for years demanding fair investigation into their sons' deaths.

The mothers were stopped at the forepart of the avenue, where a demonstration against the hike in electricity rates in Armenia is being staged for the fourth day running. Prior to that, the parents tried to get to the presidential palace by an alternative route; however, they were stopped by police at Baghramyan/Proshyan intersection. Traffic here is stopped, while the road is open for pedestrians. The mothers, however, were not allowed to cross the street and walk toward the presidential office.

At the protest site, the mothers first walked through the barricades built by demonstrators using garbage cans, after which they ran into a police cordon. Deputy Yerevan Police Chief Valery Osipyan urged the parents to “make an exception and not stage a protest near the presidential office today.”

“If you have something to convey to the residence, we'll do that for you. If you have an appointment with someone, tell us, we'll try and get them here,” Osipyan said. 

The negotiations with Osipyan lasted about half an hour: their conversation received the attention of about 10 media outlets covering the sit-in on the central Yerevan avenue. They were also approached by several demonstrators. At the same time, a group of young people continued to sing patriotic songs at the barricades, while the mothers once again told police and reporters that their sons had been killed in the army, but no one has been punished, and the criminal cases have been hushed up.

Gohar Sargsyan, mother of Tigran Ohanjanyan who died in the Armenian army in 2007, told Osipyan that police have not always been so polite to them. Sargsyan, particularly, recalled, that on February 11 her and her husband were violently dragged by police officers to the the sidewalk across the street from the RA presidential palace. 

“Before you carry out an order, if you receive an order to treat the parents [of soldiers] this way, you have to ask yourself why these parents have taken to the streets,” Sargsyan said.

However, the negotiations did not give any results: the parents of dead soldiers staged their protest near the police cordon, attaching a poster with their sons' photos to the gates of a nearby building.