Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   18 July

Several MPs propose banning assembly at church territories

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 15, ARMENPRESS. Members of Parliament Galust Sahakyan, Mihran Hakobyan and Karine Atchemyan have brought forward a legislative initiative suggesting to ban holding assemblies (rallies) in the territories of the Armenian Apostolic Church, if the church hasn’t authorized it.

Co-author of the bill Mihran Hakobyan presented the initiative on amending the law on freedom of assembly to lawmakers today.

He said that assemblies must take place within a safe distance from the President’s Office, the Parliament Seat, government offices, courthouses or correctional facilities not to ‘threaten the normal functioning’ of the abovementioned institutions. “Assemblies must also be banned in the territories belonging or leased by the Armenian Apostolic Church, if the church’s consent is absent. The church has its exclusive role in the preservation of our national identity. The 2011 law on freedom of assembly doesn’t anyhow regulate this issue,” Hakobyan said.

“In case of adopting the bill, the threats aimed at disrupting public order in these territories and threats on forming an atmosphere of intolerance based on religious grounds will be eliminated,” the lawmaker said.

Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan

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