The Clashes between the Police and Young Activists and the Domestic Political Situation
On April 10, Media Center hosted a discussion on “The Clashes between the Police and Young Activists and the Domestic Political Situation” with participation of Armenia’s Helsinki Committee leader, human rights activist Avetik Ishkhanyan, expert in eastern studies and conflict analysis Arsen Kharatyan, former presidential candidate Andreas Ghukasyan and detained-released activist Shoghakat Vardanyan.

The participants stated that the police used violence against in fact peaceful protestors, young participants of the march, and detained some of them.

Human rights activist Ishkhanyan termed it “illegal restraint of liberty”, Andreas Ghukasyan said that by detaining him “they removed from the square one person who could have been responsible for the actions of the youth”, and Kharatyan qualified the police actions as “mini version of April 12, 2004, ‘ring operation’”.

“The police did not use force, they isolated the leader and others in charge – this was the obvious strategy. But if there were 30,000 people out there, the police would have applied force, in case of 60,000 they would have fired guns, if there were more, the police would have switched sides and stood by the people,” said Ghukasyan with strong conviction.

Kharatyan welcomed the civil standpoint of the youth on April 9, saying that many of them got baptized as civil activists that very day.

Shoghakat Vardanyan told how rapidly people were removed from the area with application of violence against also young activists.

“It all started when a young girl was pulled aside and hurt, and then without warning some others were pushed to different sides with force, they were simply hurled and taken away,” told the details Vardanyan.   

Ghukasyan stated that on April 9 it was decided that anti-criminal revolution is the duty of every citizen of Armenia, rather than Raffi Hovannisian's duty alone.

Ishkhanyan interpreted the recent events from the legal perspective and said the police's claim that the young people were not detained, but were invited to the police station is far from reality. All their actions point to detention, and illegal detention at that, since the police did not present warrants.

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