Days before 3 advertising posters were installed in the center of Yerevan which were removed by Yerevan Municipality after two days.
Posters were criticized in social media, described as sheer propaganda.
Araz Baghdasaryan, Head of Department of External Design and Advertisement of the Municipality of Yerevan, commented on the posters removal on his Facebook page: “Three posters were installed in the capital illegally that preach tolerance towards people with different sexual orientation ... regardless of the content of the advertising posters, they are removed as Yerevan Municipality did not give permission for their installation.”
Mamikon Hovsepyan says that the posters displayed that LGBT people are everywhere, in all the fields.
“A hair-dresser, official, Taxi driver can be an LGBT person, we just wanted to show the visibility. The other poster related to transgender people as they are mostly subjected to violence in Armenia. The third one referred to happiness in general that all people regardless their social status want to be happy. But it turned out that the happiness and tolerance campaign was considered illegal and meaningless which is already discrimination. It was the self-will of the Municipality to qualify it and to remove without informing us,” Hovsepyan said.
Hasmik Petrosyan says that “Pink Armenia” NGO had a contract with the advertising agency which has much experience in the field of external advertisement.
“2-3 days have passed when the Municipality realized that there was no permission and removed them without informing us. The problem is that even if the technical order was violated, the Municipality had no right to violate our rights, our right of freedom of speech and we consider this a case of discrimination,” Petrosyan said.
She highlighted that the Municipality should prove that in all the cases when the order of getting permission was violated they removed the posters.
“It is clear that the issue is the content not the permission. We have already applied to the Municipality to clarify the official grounds based on which the posters were removed. We intend to litigate this action of the Municipality and their decision. And we will struggle that the posters are again installed,” Petrosyan said.
Tigran AVinyan says that RA Constitution and legislation are priority for them based on which a human being is a high value regardless of skin color, religion and sexual orientation.
“In my opinion, the posters were removed as our society is not ready for such posters on the city. People always confuse the tolerance campaign with propaganda. We do not perceive the meaning of tolerance which does not mean love, tolerance means to respect the rights of one another, which we ought to do regardless we like it or not. Such discussions are necessary for our society,” Avinyan said.
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