On August 19, 2019 for the first time after the revolution, serious and extensive violations of freedom of assembly took place in the Republic of Armenia, which require the leadership of the country to assess and revisit its current practices.
On August 19 2019, citizens of the Republic of Armenia held a peaceful rally to express their solidarity to the citizens of Jermuk and neighboring communities standing up for their vital rights against exploitation of the Amulsar mine, who came to a meeting with the Prime Minister at 26 Baghramyan Ave. Those gathered were prevented by heavy police forces to use the public space on the pavement of the Presidential Residence and were forced to stand across the street, a practice emulating the authoritarian times.
After the discussion at Baghramyan 26 ended, the citizens, disappointed with the process and results of the meeting with the Prime Minister, decided to hold a public assembly in the park adjacent to the National Assembly. Their entrance to the park, the gates of which opened in October 2018 and this public space has been since then in use for many public occasions, was obstructed by a live police barrier.
After having waited for at least 20 minutes, the citizens, virtually deprived of any space for a public assembly, were forced to exit into Baghramyan Avenue. However, their rally was oppressed by brutal use of police force and “knocking citizens down onto the asphalt”, to be later on taken to the police station without legal grounds. As a result of the disproportionate force applied by the RA Police, there were injured people, one of whom was taken to “St. Gregor the Illuminator” hospital.
We, the undersigned, strongly condemn these instances of Police violating our right to peaceful assembly.
- To hold accountable all police officers who used violence against peaceful participants, mistreated civilians and brought them to police stations.
- To hold accountable those police officers who ordered to obstruct the peaceful assembly of citizens and to publicly report on the measures taken.
We call for the public accountability of the RA Police Chief Valery Osipyan on measures taken against these violations. If measures are not taken towards the above mentioned persons, we demand the resignation of the RA Police Chief.
Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center
Protection of Rights Without Borders
Helsinki Civic Assembly of Vanadzor
“Asparez” Journalist Club
The statement is open for new signatories