16 detained in ongoing Yerevan rally as of 09:00, April 20
YEREVAN, APRIL 20, ARMENPRESS. On April 20, as of 09:00, the Yerevan Police detained 16 participants of the rally organized by opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan, the Police told Armenpress.
Earlier the Yerevan Police Department (YPD) said they will continue lawfully detaining people who are violating public order.
Opposition protests began in the Armenian capital of Yerevan a week ago.
The rallies are led by opposition lawmaker Nikol Pashinyan, who has called on his supporters to launch civil disobedience.
The rallies began with a sit-in at France Square in downtown Yerevan, followed by sporadic marches in the city streets. The protesters even began blocking intersections and shutting down traffic. The situation escalated when the crowd of protesters and MP Pashinyan himself breached into the headquarters of Public Radio of Armenia, demanding airtime on April 14.
Then on April 16, protesters and riot police clashed in a brief incident on Baghramyan Avenue – one of the main city streets housing the parliament, Constitutional Court and the Prime Minister’s residence. The Yerevan Police Department (YPD) has called on the opposition crowd to refrain from illegal actions and to maintain public order.
YPD said they are entitled to detain protesters who are violating public order and to cease the illegal rally, because the demonstrations are violating the rights of others and endangering public safety.
The protesters largely ignored the YPD demands and continued the rally, initiating sit-ins outside governmental buildings, blocking traffic, obstructing public service staff from entering their offices, even deflating tires of official vehicles parked outside ministries.
During the April 19 rally in Yerevan’s Republic Square, Pashinyan called on his supporters to again block the streets starting from 08:15 on April 20. He announced that a rally will again be held in the Republic Square on April 20 at 19:00.
English –translator/editor: Aneta Harutyunyan