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Right to Preach Violence in the Center of Yerevan and Marzes? 

On November , 2019, The Coalition to Stop Violence against Women issued a statement.  “For three months, a group of people have set up stalls at the gates of the National Assembly and on Northern avenue, collecting signatures against the Istanbul Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, who make aggressive remarks and hate speech towards human rights defenders and passers-by who express their disagreement with them.

Two months ago Yerevan Council member Grigor Yeritsyan of “My Step” turned to Yerevan Police demanding to immediately remove the stalls that had been stationed without a permit from the district governor given that the people standing around these booths were violating the dignity of Yerevan residents and foreign visitors of Armenia. The police have left unnoticed many similar appeals and have therefore created a fertile ground for various groups to apply violence in various public places, including the incidence of assault against three students of the American University of Armenia. 

We often receive alarming calls from various regions of Armenia that the campaigners against the Istanbul Convention collect signatures in their regions too, they organize public events accompanied by calls for violence and hate speech and often turn into physical abuse. 

Even in the event of such explicit manifestations of violence, the Police do not take any substantive measures in order to limit the activities of such extremist groups as is prescribed by law and to prevent future possible violence.”

The Coalition to Stop Violence against women also refer to the duties of the Police and the principles by which they are obliged to abide. The Coalition concludes that certain extremist groups engage in clear hate speech and targeted violent acts and therefore are a threat to the security and health of citizens. They therefore demand:

From the police, to take measures to identify and characterize the acts that have been carried out in the past 3 months as criminal in nature. If these acts persist, to warrant patrolling groups of police to prevent verbal and physical abuse by these extremist groups and act immediately to stop perpetrators of violence.

From the municipality of Yerevan, to clarify how these groups have been able to put up stalls in the center of Yerevan preaching violence and other actions violating human rights and fundamental freedoms.” 

 

Tekali Taxi