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

Opposition leader, two MPs removed from rally site by force after failing to comply with lawful demands - YPD

YEREVAN, APRIL 22, ARMENPRESS. Yerevan police (YPD) have dispersed a rally midday on Sunday in the city’s Erebuni district under Article 33 of the law on freedom of assembly.

Initiators of the rally – opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan, MP Ararat Mirzoyan and MP Sasun Michaelyan, have been removed from the location of the rally by police officers, police said.

“Despite numerous calls of the police to cease the rally, N. Pashinyan continued the illegal march in Artsakh Street [Yerevan] – calling on his supporters for mass disobediences. All actions of the initiators of the rally are illegal after the decision of the police to cease the demonstrations, and all participants of the rally are obliged to leave the location of the rally”, police said.

Police once again addressed citizens, saying that the decision to cease the rally is in force, and all citizens must leave the areas of demonstrations.

 Earlier police had released a statement, saying they are entitled to disperse the rally because the demonstrators are violating public order and endangering public safety.

As the ongoing rallies entered the 10th day, police announced to demonstrators that in case of failing to voluntarily cease the rally, law enforcement agencies will disperse it as required by law.

Earlier today, the meeting between Armenia’s Prime Minister and opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan, leader of the ongoing demonstrations, lasted only a few minutes.

The anticipated meeting took place in the Marriott Hotel in Republic Square of Yerevan, the main rally site where every evening demonstrators gather to protest.

The Prime Minister arrived without a tie, while the opposition MP was wearing his usual t-shirt and hat.

As expected, both the Prime Minister and the lawmaker arrived at the hotel at 10:00.

The meeting was held in the presence of numerous reporters who were broadcasting live.

“I am happy that you responded to my numerous calls to talk. Although I don’t quite imagine how long we can negotiate in the presence of dozens of reporters, nevertheless I am happy”, the Prime Minister said at the beginning.

MP Nikol Pashinyan responded by saying that there is a misunderstanding and that he has come to discuss the PM’s resignation and peaceful transfer of power, rather than for dialogue.

“That’s not negotiations, that’s not a dialogue. That is simply an ultimatum, blackmailing the state and legitimate authorities. You do not realize the degree of responsibility, you didn’t learn lessons from March 1 [2008]. And if we have to speak in that tone, then I am only left to once again advice you to return to the legal area and overall the limits of reasonable actions. Otherwise the entire responsibility falls on you,” Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan said.

Pashinyan reacted by saying that the situation in Armenia has changed and the power has transitioned to the people.

“A 7-8% parliamentary faction doesn’t have the right to speak on behalf of the people. And I don’t want to continue this conveersaton with you anymore. If you do not accept the lawful demand of the state, goodbye,” PM Sargsyan said and walked out on the opposition lawmaker.

Before departing, the Prime Minister addressed reporters, saying : “Dear reporters, you yourselves can make conclusions”.

After the meeting, Pashinyan resumed marching in the streets of Yerevan, while many began to call for another meeting and dialogue.

English –translator/editor: Stepan Kocharyan


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