Certain reporters ignore warnings, obstruct on-duty cops – Yerevan police say
YEREVAN, APRIL 20, ARMENPRESS. Armenia’s law enforcement agencies once again called on reporters to maintain reasonable distance from the locations of the ongoing demonstrations in order to avoid obstructing on-duty officers.
“Dear reporters, my dear friends, please do your job professionally, refrain from taking sides or spreading emotions, we appreciate your high-class professional work when it indeed is such, truly demanded and appreciable.
We have numerously requested you to maintain proper distance from the demonstration sites, where police are carrying out actions for maintaining public order. However, certain reporters are ignoring the request and are carrying out actions which obstruct on-duty police officers. We urge you to refrain from such actions because it may lead to difficulties for law enforcement agents in differentiating demonstrators from reporters,” police spokesman Ashot Aharonyan said.
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.
About 100 demonstrators were detained for misdemeanors on April 19. Several others have been placed under arrest for causing a brief riot earlier in central Yerevan.
About 52 have been detained as of midday April 20.
English –translator/editor: Stepan Kocharyan