Parliament Ammen’s Law on Public Gatherings

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–With a vote of 91 to 6 and 1 abstention Armenian lawmakers pushed through late on Monday a set of changes and amendmen’s to the law on mass assemblies, processions and demonstrations.
The draft bill was presented by Rafik Petrosian, a member of a parliament committee on legal issues, who said the move was prompted by the recent standoff between the opposition and the authorities showing that the law has some loopholes and vague wordings.
"The events in Yerevan on March 1 demonstrated that the existing law has a number of drawbacks which need to be addressed. This is prompted by the lesson we learnt," he told the parliament.
One of the amendmen’s allows the authorities to ban a rally "if they receive trustworthy police or security service reports that such an action may threaten national security, public order or violate citizens’ constitutional rights".
According to Rafik Petrosian, this amendment is in line with relevant international conventions and Armenia’s Constitution.
Under another change, the organizers will have to inform authorities about their wish to hold a public rally 5 days prior to it, up from the current 3 days.
Shortly before midnight the emergency session of parliament voted 90-6 to pass the two readings of the law.
President Robert Kocharian signed the amendmen’s into Law on Tuesday.

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