Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   17 July

US Embassy describes protesters’ and policemen’s actions as respectful and responsible

YEREVAN, JUNE 23, ARMENPRESS. As Armenpress reports, the diplomatic representation of the USA encouraged investigating cases of disproportionate actions of the police and cases of violence against journalists in Yerevan on June 23. It is mentioned in the official statement by the US Embassy in Yerevan:

“We were encouraged by the responsible and generally respectful behavior by both protestors and police on the evening of June 22 during the protests over the planned rise in electricity prices. Freedom of speech and assembly are fundamental rights in any democracy, and we were pleased to see both sides work in a manner that respected these rights and did not escalate tensions.

However, we are concerned about reports of excessive police use of force to disperse the crowd on the morning of June 23, as well as several reports of abuse while in police custody. In addition, we are troubled by reports that journalists and their equipment were specifically targeted during the operation. It is imperative that the Government conduct a full and transparent investigation of reports of the excessive use of force by the police to the full extent of Armenian law”.

237 protesters were on June 23 for violating the public order. Armenpress was informed about this by Armen Malkhasyan – officer of the Public Relations and Information Department of the Police of the Republic of Armenia. During long negotiations, the police of the Republic of Armenia suggested the protesters leaving the protest sight in order to restore the public order. It was also announced for a few times through a loudspeaker that the President of the Republic of Armenia is eager to listen to the protesters’ demands. However, the demonstrators turned down the offer to meet with the President.

As it is mentioned in the statement provided to Armenpress by the Public Relations and Information Department of the Police of the Republic of Armenia, the organizers of the march also turned down the admonishments and requests of the police. Guided by the laws of the Republic of Armenia, the police applied to the organizers of the protest with the demand to stop the illegal march but the organizers didn’t obey. The police warned that in case of disobeying the lawful requirements of the police or counteraction, the march will no longer be considered peaceful and will be stopped. The police suggested the protestors returned to Liberty Square and continued their protest action there but this suggestion yielded no result. The police used physical force and special measures towards the violators. The police dispersed the demonstration by using water cannon, and detained a number of activists and journalists protesting against the increase in the electricity price. 

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