‘RA POLICE, WHAT A SHAME!’13:47, August 28, 2013 | News | Freedom of Assembly and Association, Freedom of Movement, Freedom of thought, conscience and religion, Social Rights | Police, Support for civil iniciatives
On August 27, 2013, at 1:00 p.m., a march and assembly were launched against the mass repressions by the police in front of the RA Police Office. Despite the prior notice on holding the assembly directly in front of the Police Office, the Deputy Chief of Yerevan Police Valeri Osipyan argued that the assembly participants closed the entrance to the Police Office, and he was unable to ensure their security there. After negotiations between V. Osipyan and the Chairman of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor, Artur Sakunts, responsible for the march, the participants of the assembly took the street to the opposite side while it was still unclear how the police would be able to ensure the safety of the participants on the opposite side of the street and not on the pavement of the Police Office.
Nevertheless, the assembly took place. Firstly, the Chairman of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor, Artur Sakunts made some statements on the illegal actions by the police. He also condemned the illegal action by the police in violation of constitutional rights, as well as inaction, connivance and sponsoring the members of the ‘Fathers’ Protection Committee” who in the previous few days attacked the activists and their supporters. Among other speakers were: Zaruhi Hovhannisyan, Argishti Kiviryan, Rusanna Grigoryan and Artur Grigoryan. The assembly participants demanded to punish and initiate criminal cases against the police officers who used violence against the activists or displayed inappropriate and unacceptable behavior. Argishti Kiviryan who had suffered beating by the police officers 2 days before the assembly of August 27, made the following announcement: “The police are trying to isolate the active citizens in an attempt to instill fear in the society…. All these activities are coordinated and link back to the well-planned actions of the regime to exterminate of activists … The power supporting such a regime is not the police, but rather a pack with sexual dissatisfaction which displayed its actions at Komitas 5”.
After the speeches, the participants of the assembly moved towards the RA General Prosecutor’s Office chanting ‘RA POLICE, WHAT A SHAME!’ The march participants were accompanied by the servicemen of the special police units who when passing even the narrowest sidewalks, did not allow the march participants to get off to the street claiming the need to ensure their security and the regular flow of the traffic. The first stop of the march was near the General Prosecutor’s Office that had been already surrounded by the police. Thus, the activists had to occupy a segment of the road. After Zaruhi Hovhannisyan submitted the requirements of the participants to the General Prosecutor’s Office, the participants moved to the City Hall to meet the sit-inners.
Valeri Osipyan followed all the actions throughout the assembly and the march and regularly contacted the mass media representatives. A journalist asked a noteworthy question on the policeman who had lately kissed the neck of an activist woman. Osipyan first tried to deny the fact and then said: “I think it is quite normal. You know, a girl remains a girl until she is considered a delinquent girl. Everyone is equal. And she becomes a delinquent as she breaks the law. Do you see my point? And the actions by the police were quite lawful and proportionate in this case, and if you have in your mind any other method without touching and tapping, please tell us. I also used to stand too close to women and girls, holding somebody’s hand or somebody’s waist, it is quite possible…”.
This response makes one conclude that such a behavior is a conduct and policy developed by the ‘senior’ police officers.
The march of August 27 ended, but its participants and organizers will be consistent in following the fulfillment of their requirements and struggling against impunity of police and other system officers for their unlawful activities.