“Embrace them all; they are our sisters and brothers, embrace them,” Deputy Yerevan Police Chief Valery Osipyan called as law enforcement officers picked up on Monday protesters who have been occupying central Baghramyan Avenue for the past two weeks and dragged them forcibly to the police vehicles. According to official information, 46 protesters have been taken into custody. Osipyan, however, has assured the detainees would be released shortly, and no proceedings would be initiated against them.
At noon on Monday, Armenian Police called for demonstrators to end the “illegal blockage” of Baghramyan Avenue by 12:30 PM; otherwise, police warned they would do so by using “the powers vested in the police by legislation of the Republic of Armenia.” Police then went on to dismantle the barricade and disperse the small crowd of a couple of hundred demonstrators who had remained at the protest site.
Shortly before the operation, Deputy Chief of Armenian Police Hunan Poghosyan assured police would not use force or special means against the protesters, which however, was not the case. As an Epress.am correspondent reported from the scene, law enforcement officers violently dragged protester Gohar Saroyan to a police car, pulling up her skirt and squeezing her arms, in an attempt to detain her.
Saroyan managed to get out of the vehicle the first time, while the second attempt at her detention was prevented by Colonel Hunan Poghosyan, who ordered the officers to “let the girl go.” Poghosyan, however, claimed that the protester was “provoking the police,” while Saroyan promised that “you will all pay for this.”
Law enforcement officers, realizing that they were being filmed by reporters, tried to be discreet in their violent actions against protesters and journalists. They, as stated by our correspondent, unnoticeable knocked demonstrators, as well as “accidentally” collided with reporters holding cameras.