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March in Yerevan in Support of Political Prisoners

“New Armenia” political movement, a union of a number of Armenian anti-government parties and initiatives, held a march in Yerevan Thursday to demand the release of one of its key members Zhirayr Sefilyan and the country's other political prisoners. The demonstrators, just shy of 100 people, gathered at the city's Freedom Square around midday and marched to the office of Armenia's president Serzh Sargsyan.

While still at the square, Yerevan deputy police chief Valery Osipyan approached the protesters and told them that the march was illegal since the organizers had failed to notify city authorities about it. New Armenia representative Gagik Yeghiazaryan, however, countered to this, insisting that the march was attended by less than a hundred people and there was therefore no need to seek the authorities' approval in order to hold it. Osipyan finally allowed the demonstrators to move towards the presidential residence on condition that they would not hold up posters with “insulting content” and that they would keep the march to the opposite sidewalk of the presidential residence.

On the poster a quotation attributed to Sefilyan: "We have nothing to give up except those who give up!"

According to Gagik Yeghiazaryan, they were going to Baghramyan 26 (the address of the presidential office) to "demand that Serzh Sargsyan – the person who has illegally seized the presidential post – releases national hero Zhirayr Sefilyan, [opposition leader] Shant Harutyunyan and the other people who are currently imprisoned on politically motivated charges."

"Regime, we are all Sefilyan!"


Recall, Zhirayr Sefilyan was arrested on June 20 on suspicion of plotting an armed coup against the Armenian government. He, along with 8 other suspects, was formally charged with article 235.2 of the Armenian Criminal Code (illegal purchase, transportation or carrying of weapons, ammunition, explosives or explosive devices, committed by a group with prior agreement). If convicted, the men could face up to 6 years in jail.