Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   21 January

YPD rules to lawfully cease opposition rally

YEREVAN, APRIL 17, ARMENPRESS. The Yerevan Police Department said it has decided to cease the rally of opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan and to demand the lawmaker to immediately notify his followers on the decision.

“Since April 13, the rally led by Member of Parliament Nikol Pashinyan caused mass public disturbances, deliberate blocking of Yerevan streets, obstructing the normal functioning of organizations, blockading vitally significant transportation junctions, disobeying lawful orders of police officers and committing violence against on duty officers. The organizers of the rally are regularly calling for barring MPs from entry to the parliament and blockading the building. Despite the fact that the mass public disturbances and illegal restrictions of the rights of many citizens were continuous, police was guided by Article 78 of the Constitution and used solely verbal warnings and demands, which, however, were absolutely ignored by the protesters and the organizer of the rally.

The rally stopped being peaceful at one point, namely when on April 16 Nikol Pashinyan guided his followers to the Baghramyan Avenue in an attempt to break police lines. Riots took place as a result of an ensuing clash, which caused injuries and public property damage.  

In accordance to Paragraph 1, Article 5 of the Law on Freedom of Assembly, the freedom of assemblies can only be restricted in case when maintaining state security and public order in a democratic society, prevention of crimes, protection of public health and morality, the rights and liberties of others prevail over the freedom of assembly,” the Yerevan Police Department said.

Police announced that the illegal actions of the protesters make the constitutional rights of others and public interest a priority, moreover when all demands, calls and orders of the police have been totally ignored.

“Under Article 33 of the Law on Freedom of Assembly, the Yerevan Police Department has ruled to cease the rally and demand the leader of the movement to implement the decision and immediately notify his followers. Under the law, in case of the absence of the rally leader or failure to comply – the police are entitled to disperse the illegal rally, including by special measures,” YPD said, warning protesters to halt the illegal rally.

Earlier on April 16 opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan and his crowd of supporters escalated the situation in Baghramyan Avenue in Yerevan.

Pashinyan led his followers from France Square to the beginning of the Baghramyan Avenue, mentioning he “wants to go the parliament, his working place”.

Along with other opposition MPs from the Yelk faction, Pashinyan intended to breach the police line. Deputy chief of the Yerevan Police Department Valery Osipyan negotiated with the MPs and agreed to allow the opposition lawmakers to head to the parliament.

However, Pashinyan began shouting that he will not go alone and that his supporters must also go through the lines.

Despite numerous calls from the police to maintain order, Pashinyan climbed onto the steel barricade, which led to a chaotic situation.

The crowd began lifting the barricades and using them against officers.

A brawl began between protesters and police officers. At one point the MP and his supporters even climbed on a vehicle. The situation drastically escalated.

Police forces installed a barbed wire across the street and smoke was briefly seen on the scene.

Yerevan police issued a statement demanding opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan to cease the rally in the city. In case of failure to comply within a reasonable period of time, police said they will disperse the rally with special measures and force.

“Public order has been grossly violated as a result of the violent actions of protesters of the rally led by you in Baghramyan Avenue.

All warnings, demands and other restrictive actions of the police are no longer effective, thus, under Article 33 of the law on assembly, police are demanding from you to cease the rally.

In case of your absence from the location of the rally or failure to comply with the demand within a reasonable period of time, police will disperse the rally using force and special measures,” the police said in a statement addressed to opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan.

English –translator/editor: Stepan Kocharyan

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