CSI statement. Violence is an act of pressure and threats aimed at the freedom of expression and assembly


A series of attacks, dangerous for life and health of individuals, took place between 22 August and 5 September, 2013 in Yerevan. All these individuals are supporters of civil initiatives, either through active participation in different protest actions or as having direct relations to the activists.

On 22nd of August, activist Anoushavan Grigoryan was attacked by unknown persons at 5 Komitas St., Yerevan.

On 25th of August , about 1:30 a.m., nearby «Ararat» restaurant Mihran Margaryan and Babken Ter-Grigoryan were approached by several young men and asked whether they had participated in the sit-in protest in front of the Yerevan city hall. When the activists answered positively, the young men cried out “how do you dare to go against our fathers” and started beating the activists.

On 25th of August, unknown persons attacked activist Mickael Tonoyan on the Bridge “Haghtanak”, hit him shouting “are you against our fathers?” and ran away.

In the early morning of 5th of September, a group of unknown persons attacked activist Arman Alexanyan in the beginning of Mashtots avenue.

In the night of 5th September, Haykak Arshamyan and Suren Saghatelyan, who were parking their car in their house-yard, were beaten by a group of 6 or 7 unknown persons.

In the opinion of Civil Society Institute NGO (CSI), there is a great possibility that all these actions are well-planned and orchestrated.

The police have not carried out any effective investigation into the facts and no perpetrator has been identified to-date, notwithstanding the fact that all crimes took place in the centre of Yerevan, where, according to some activists, video cameras were installed.

Police inaction contributes to deepening of society’s distrust towards the police and spread the crimes further.

“This wave of violence is a consequence of the absence of a civilized dialogue on issues of public importance. In fact, street becomes a platform where these issues are solved and confrontation of the parties happens. Violence becomes a method of solution. In this process the police become a tool used for protecting interests of persons performing illegal actions”, says Artak Kirakosyan, Chairman of the Board of CSI.

Lack of thorough actions of the police in response to these cases is in clear opposition to the policy of “Towards Safe Armenia” adopted by the Armenian authorities. We consider this situation as oppression and a provocation aimed against freedom of expression and assembly.

Civil Society Institute NGO demands that the Armenian authorities:

• publicly criticize the raw of violence;

• provide for effective dialogue on socially important issues between the authorities and the society, excluding adoption and implementation of arbitrary decisions.

We demand that the Armenian Police:

• provide the society with public explanation on their steps towards protection of safety of citizens of the Republic of Armenia in public areas, 

• provide public explanation on their steps aimed at identifying the alleged perpetrators and holding them accountable,

• carry out rapid and effective investigation to prevent such vicious practice.

Source www.hra.am