Yerevan environmental demonstration escalates into anti-Mayor protest, supporters hop in
YEREVAN, MAY 16, ARMENPRESS. Environmentalist protesters and demonstrators who were rallying outside Yerevan City Hall against the logging of trees in a nearby park and who were demanding the resignation of Mayor Taron Margaryan have blocked Argishti Street – the street which houses the City Hall.
A group of demonstrators began a sit-in in the street and blocked traffic.
Another group of protesters are gathered at the entrance of the City Hall trying to join other activists who had earlier breached into the building.
Police officers have blocked the main entrance of the building.
But not only are protesters at the scene – the Mayor’s supporters have also gathered outside the City Hall, holding posters saying: “Taron is our Mayor”.
Alen Simonyan, an opposition City Council member-turned MP, has also arrived at the scene.
Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan had a phone call with Police Chief of Armenia Valery Osipyan in regard to an earlier incident when about 30 protesters stormed into the capital’s City Hall. It wasn’t immediately clear which side made the call but the City Hall had earlier asked police to intervene.
The Police Chief said that police are carrying out explanatory work with the demonstrators.
Earlier, demonstrators protesting against the logging works in a Yerevan park have entered the City Hall and were demanding to be granted audience with Mayor Taron Margaryan.
The park is facing the City Hall.
Nearly 30 protesters breached into the building and headed upstairs to the Mayor’s office.
A City Hall official tried to de-escalate the situation, while several others – including police officers – blocked the entrance to the Mayor’s office.
Deputy Mayor Davit Ohanyan talked to the protesters. He said that “problems aren’t solved this way”.
Ohanyan suggested to have a meeting in the press briefing hall with the Chief of Staff and other officials, but the environmentalists insisted on a meeting with the Mayor himself. Activists were claiming that Mayor Margaryan is the one who is responsible for everything.
Ohanyan responded by saying that every branch has an in-charge official at the City Hall. “Let’s go up now and you will meet with them”, he said, adding that afterwards if there will be questions he would invite Mayor Margaryan also.
Prior to entering the City Hall building, the activists brought down construction posters which were installed in the park.
Yerevan City Hall requested law enforcement agencies to take measures for restoring its normal functioning after around 30 demonstrators stormed into the building.
Secretary of the City Hall staff Sergey Makaryan addressed the request to personally Police Chief of Armenia Valery Osipyan.
In the letter, Makaryan noted that an unlawful breach has occurred into a building which is subject to state protection by the police, which obstructed the normal functioning of the City Hall’s activities.
“We are addressing you to take actions to cease the illegal actions and restore the normal activities of the City Hall”, the letter said.
ENGLISH: Editor/Translator - Stepan Kocharyan