Yerevan Police Clash With Protesters Again

Yerevan Police at Mashdots Park on Wednesday (Photolour)

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Riot police used force against environmental campaigners on Wednesday in a continuing standoff over the controversial construction of kiosks in a small public park in downtown Yerevan.

The violence erupted after two dozen intellectuals and other public figures broke through a police cordon to occupy some of the under-construction shops placed there last month. Police officers pushed them out moments later but did not arrest anyone despite an earlier warning.

The warning was issued late last week after a group of prominent Armenians joined in more than month-long  protests staged in Mashtots Park by dozens of younger activists on a virtually daily basis. They threatened to dismantle the kiosks if the authorities do not do that themselves by Wednesday.

The policemen exercised caution as they forcibly removed the protesters wearing yellow construction hard hats from the properties. One of them, film director Tigran Khzmalian, was dragged away by several officers after holding on to a kiosk pillar.

“Get him out but without [too much] physical force,” Robert Melkonian, a deputy chief of the Yerevan police present at the scene, told his subordinates.

Another protester, political scientist Andreas Ghukasian, challenged Melkonian to arrest him and his comrades. “We are ready. Punish us,” said Ghukasian.

“We don’t want to arrest you,” replied Melkonian. “I’m just amazed by your strong desire.” “We are urging you not to go to extremes,” added the police official.

The campaigners left the park shortly afterwards, promising to stage fresh and larger protests there. “This is only the beginning,” Khzmalian told journalists. “We will bring along a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand people.”


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  1. Hovik said:

    գործազուրկ ժողովուրդը ոչ մի բան չունեն զբաղվելու, բացի իրենց ժամանակը վատնել։

  2. Art said:

    that cop is funny – he was like “mi sheshmi gortset ara” lol

  3. tlkatintsi said:

    These ugly, useless stores, supposedly as compensation for those equally ugly, useless stores that were illegal blemishes on Abovyan Street, must be removed today – not within the next three years as promised by PM Sargsyan. This illegal construction on the part of the government is yet another example of the disregard that the authorities have for average citizens in Armenia. Luckily, there are some who recognize this as a slap in the face and are not ready to turn the other cheek. Let all those demanding change in Armenia, get off their behinds and support this act of civil resistance.

  4. hayko yesilkoyluian said:

    we should kick soviet educated politicians in armenia educated diaspora armenians should enter parliment there

  5. anna said:

    Hovik, amot kez shad dked es mnazel yev ko nmanneri mer yergiri danum en tebi andunt.Abri Dikran Khzmaliani yev ir nman mdazoghneri.