Alen Simonyan, the Deputy Speaker of Armenia’s National Assembly from the ruling “My Step” faction was involved in a street brawl, during which he allegedly attacked Artur Danielyan, a co-founder of the opposition Adekvat party at Yerevan’s Mashdots Park on Wednesday.
The incident occurred at around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday on Arami Street at Mashdots Park, when, according to a post on Adekvad’s Facebook page, Danielyan was walking with a few friends in the park and allegedly was approached by Simonyan who physically attacked Danielyan, who sustained injuries to his nose.
Speaking to Azatutyun.am’s Armenian Service, Simonyan claimed that he was walking through the park when Danielyan and his friends began hurling what he described as homophobic slurs and they attacked him and punched him. When asked by the Azatutyun.am reporter to clarify whether he was beaten up by all three, he alleged that Danielyan was beating him up while the other two were trying to break up the fight. Simonyan said he had sustained injuries to his face.
Adekvad member Konstantin Ter-Nakalyan told Panorama.am that Simonyan attacked Danielyan. He also posted a Danielyan picture showing significant injury to his nose.
In a Facebook post, independent parliament member Arman Babajanyan said that Simonyan was attacked and the two reported the incident to the police.
By Wednesday evening Danielyan and two others were arrested in connection with the incident, with Danielyan being taken into police custody before getting medical attention for his injuries, a police spokesperson, Edgar Janoyan, told Armenpress. As a member of parliament, Simonyan has immunity from prosecution.
Janoyan also said that an investigation was underway into the incident, but did not identify the other two who were arrested alongside Danielyan.
The Adekvad party is comprised young nationalist activists who oppose the government of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Co-founder Danielyan was arrested last year for allegedly inciting violence, but was released the same day.
Despite his position as Armenia’s Deputy National Assembly Speaker, Simonyan is known for being a loose cannon, using his social media platforms to blast individuals or groups expressing opposition to the government.
Last year, he took to social media to propose changing Armenia’s National Anthem with the one used during the Soviet era. When individuals, many of whom from the Diaspora, voice opposition to his proposal, Simonyan blasted them by saying Armenians who do not speak Armenian should not express their opinion.
Most recently, Simonyan called for the resignation of His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of All Armenians after the pontiff urged the authorities to release former president Robert Kocharian from custody due to his health conditions, citing universal concern for the well-being of citizens during the COVID-19 crisis.