By Anush Dashtents
Representatives of 13 opposition parties that have held a series of anti-government demonstrations over the past five weeks claimed on Friday that the Armenian police have launched an “unprecedented” crackdown their supporters.
They told reporters that several dozen opposition activists have been detained and many others fined this week for participating in what the authorities regard as “unsanctioned” street protests.
Artak Zeynalian of the Hanrapetutyun (Republic) party, which has been at the forefront of the opposition campaign, charged that police officers across the country have committed “violent acts,” bursting into apartments and taking people into custody. According to another opposition leader, Aram Sarkisian of the Democratic Party, the ensued judicial proceedings were carried out in violation of the due process of law, with courts refusing to provide any information about their arrest verdicts.
The Armenian interior ministry had no comment on the allegations. The law-enforcement agencies have warned organizers of the rallies previously that they can not hold them without an official permission from the Yerevan municipality.
The opposition has dismissed the warnings as unconstitutional, saying that simply notifying the authorities of the planned gatherings is enough.
Representatives of the opposition alliance on Thursday meet with a visiting mission from the Council of Europe which monitors Armenia’s compliance with its membership obligations.