Civic Protest: Is the Reaction of the Law Enforcement Agencies Reasonable?
Civic activists consider the behavior of the police during the civil protests unreasonable and predict further deterioration in behavior after Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

The rights defender and activists believe that during the November 12 and 14 civil protests in front of the RA Ministry of Finance and the Constitutional Court civic activists have realized their right to freedom of assembly while the actions of the police were not reasonable.

''These are freedoms that are not to be restricted otherwise than by the law. Thus, any restriction, along with definition by the law, should be useful and necessary for a democratic society. The violation of rights is obvious'', said rights defender Artak Zeynalyan today at the Media center initiated panel discussion.

The panelists included: Artak Zeynalyan (rights defender); as well as participants of the November 12 protest in favor of young lecturers and the November 14 protest against Armenia’s accession to the EEU David Manukyan (member of the D!em em Civic Initiative); Zaruhi Hovhannisyan (publicist); and Arayik Harutyunyan (Member of the Civil Contract).

Please follow the link to watch the full video of the Panel Discussion.

“The unreasonable actions of the police evolved the ambiguousness of the idea which people went out to the streets and raised the flag of struggle for as the media pays more attention to the clashes between the police and citizens,” said publicist Zaruhi Hovhannisyan who participated in the protest against Armenia's accession to the Eurasian Economic Union.

The civic activists also pointed out cases when policemen took illegal actions and made comments.

According to Zaruhi Hovhannisyan “the police do not use the legal lexicon; moreover they actively interfere with politics, showing that the society does not have the right to assemble when an issue regarding Russia is being discussed.”

“Here and now it will be approved and then we’ll see what you’re going to do.” A policeman told it to me during the protest against the accession to the Eurasian Economic Union in front of the Constitutional Court”, said one of the protestors, civil activist Gohar Saroyan.

It should be noted that an invitation to participate in this discussion was sent also to the RA Police.

Artak Zeynalyan believes that the main function of the police is to ensure not the peaceful but normal process of demonstration and they must not spur interference.

“One of the policemen asked, “Who are you? If you are not a reporter then get out of here”, said Gohar Saroyan, recalling the incident with the police during the protest before the Constitutional Court on November 14.

‘’I want to address Mr. Gasparyan, as he usually says there is an improvement in the society-police relations. But in reality, it is necessary to work with the police to prevent them from acting as “district authorities”, said David Manukyan, activist of “De!m em” Initiative.

“My observations and legal practice show that the behavior of the police is gradually deteriorating… and it is determined, in my opinion, by the illegitimacy of the authorities” said Artak Zeynalyan.

Arayik Harutyunyan, member of the Civil Contract , predicts that after Armenia's  accession to the Eurasian Economic Union some regress in the society-police relations will be evident as the Armenian law enforcement agencies have so far been put “under the microscope of “the European democratic institutions and had to formally  keep neutrality''.

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