Police Brutality Disrupts Peaceful Protest
YEREVAN–Following an alternate inauguration that took place Tuesday at Liberty Square, where opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian led the tens of thousands in attendance in an oath to collectively reclaim their rights and advance the Armenian Republic through democratic reforms, protesters were brutally attacked by riot police as they marched down Baghramian Boulevard, the site of the presidential palace.
Hovanisian, who helmed the march, and protesters were met by riot police as they peacefully marched on Baghramian Boulevard en-route attempted to the Armenian Genocide Monument at Dzidzernagapert.
At one point, police surrounded Hovannisian and his family members, who were at the front of the line and during a scuffle, Hovannisian was pushed onto the pavement. In another part of the march, Heritage Party leader Armen Martirosian was beaten by police before being taken away into custody.
“This is our street, our right, our constitution. I’m moving forward,” said Hovannisian.
The riot police and armed officers, scuffled with protesters, pushing, shoving and dragging them on the streets. Eyewitnesses reported beatings with police batons, while protesters resisted.
Vladimir Gasparian, head of Armenia’s national police service, arrived at the scene moments later to negotiate with Hovannisian. The two men stepped aside to speak tête-à-tête. According to Nazarian, the opposition leader was offered to take another route to Dzidzernagapert., reported RFE/RL.