Police took tent from Mashtots Park activists: human rights defender calls on to return it (updated)

Yesterday in the night clash between theMashtots Parkactivists and police took place.

“Approximately on 21:30 14 March 2012, policemen at theYerevan-Mashtots Squareimitate a local dispute on the back side of kiosks ofMashtoc Square, demonstration participants moved to this noise direction.

Taking the opportunity about 100 policemen stormed and the round camp of demonstrators, broke the tent, tore, took away from the camp. In the same time some demonstrators were slept in the tent. 

Immediately after that number of policemen increased up to 300. 

Everyone, move to the Mashtots square, here they are violating our rights by force, they are not allowed to hold a peaceful demonstration”, says the announcement which was spread by the activists just after the incident took place. Another activist, well-known ecologist Mariam Sukhudyan wrote on her Facebook wall:Just now, the policemen, with help of people in civil clothes, broke out a fake fight with loud shouts and curses. Thus, they distracted our attention, meanwhile almost 100 policemen occupied the tent in a circle. By the way, there were activists sleeping in the tent. But they pulled the tent and tore it up. The people were left on the ground, and they pulled them away as well.

Right after this the number of policemen increased up to 300… Come to Mashtots park right now!! They are violating our rights!! They don’t let the peaceful activists to carry out their peaceful demonstration”.

“We are the masters of this city” initiative released a message where the event is described in details.

“We announce that we were violated illegally when our tents were taken by force at cold night when we needed it in order to manage to spend the night at the Park. We cried that there were sleeping people in the tent. The slept person hardly managed to go out of the tent and he even did not manage to take his glasses and put on the shoes. The policemen also pushed a journalist who was engaged in professional affairs in the park. So the police acted against the Constitution”, the authors of the message conclude.

They also announced that they would continue their peace protest actions as much as the kiosks are not removed from theMashtots Park.

The activists started protest action today inMashtots Parkat 10:00 o’clock and the action is scheduled to be continued at Government building at 11:00. By the way, Government has theMashtots Parkissue in its agenda for today’s session.

Armenian Human Rights Defender Karen Andreasyan also released a message o the case. “Our fellow workers visitedMashtots Parkfor some times and settled the obstacle by the police to have a tent inMashtots Park. One tent was situated at the park at last but it was removed from the Park yesterday in the night”.

Karen Andreasyan reminds in his letter that he applied with announcement about a permission for a tent also a year ago when Raffi Hovhannisyan held hunger strike atLiberty Square. “Now I announce once more after a year and apply to the police that a tent can not be considered as a violation of public discipline.”

Karen Andreasyan refers to the European Convention of Human Rights and also underlined that Armenian law codex does not include a point which forbids people to have tents or other temporary buildings during the protest actions.

“Moreover, the public meetings are settled with “Law about freedom of meetings”of RA which includes a part about police’s assisting to the peace public actions. So taking into consideration Armenian and international laws and the importance to protect human rights and security I apply to Armenian Police to let settle the tent”, the Human Rights Defeneder concludes.

The activists were at the Governmental Building and were waiting for the decision by the Government. The latter decided to let the settlement of the kiosks in the Mashtots Park with three years. The activists announced that they were too disappointed and let the Governmental building. They are returning to the Park now and announce that they will continue their struggle. As one of the activists announced they are now afraid and the activists from different regions of Armenia will join them in their struggle.

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