For the second consecutive week, the parents of soldiers who died in the Armenian army in non-combat conditions were prevented by Police officers from approaching the gates of the Armenian presidential residence Thursday afternoon. Last week, law enforcement authorities explained the adamant refusal with an expected arrival of an unspecified delegation at the presidential palace, while today they flat out blocked the parents' way without any explanation.
Irina Ghazaryan, the mother of Artur Ghazaryan who died in the army in 2010, walked onto the carriageway in protest but was pushed back onto the sidewalk by police officers. Unable to bypass the police wall, the demonstrators walked up to the British Embassy building, located only a few meters away from the presidential residence and told an embassy staffer that they wanted to apply for asylum.
Vice Ambassador Amias Moores came out to meet the parents who informed him that their appeal for fair investigation into their sons' deaths has been ignored for years and “we have no choice but to seek asylum.”
“We just want to be heard,” Gohar Sargsyan, the mother of soldier Tigran Ohanjanyan who died in 2007, said. Moores urged them to submit their appeal in writing and promised their letter would not go unanswered; however, the Vice Ambassador added, there really was nothing the Embassy could do to help the parents.
Speaking to Epress.am, the protesters said they intended to also turn to other foreign embassies in the future.
The group of parents have been staging weekly protests in front of the RA Presidential Palace, the National Assembly, and RA Government building for years demanding fair investigation into their sons' deaths. They also demand that the Armenian parliament form an ad hoc committee to ensure transparency and effectiveness in the investigation of criminal cases into non-combat army deaths, as well as discover the real circumstances of their sons' deaths, which, as the parents claim, have still not been discovered, perpetrators have not been punished.