By Hovannes Shoghikian
An administrative court in Yerevan on Tuesday turned down the action of Armenia’s former leader against the decision by the city’s officials to ban a rally planned by the opposition in Liberty Square later this week.
Levon Ter-Petrosian’s authorized representative Robert Sanoyan said that by banning rally the municipality violated the law and that the kids’ event initiated by them for June 20 could not be a ground for banning the rally since the municipality had not provided a notification of its planned event in advance.
The court presided over by judge Ruzan Hakobian found that the mentioned events were not subject to the law on assemblies and did not require a notification.
Sanoyan called the municipality’s refusal to authorize opposition rallies either in Liberty Square or in the nearby area adjacent to the Ancient Manuscripts Museum, Matenadaran, groundless and not in line with the requirements of the law.
“This court ruling once again shows that our courts are not independent,” he said.
The municipal authorities have rejected just about every rally permission request filed by the Ter-Petrosian camp since the March 1 street clashes in Yerevan that left at least ten people dead and about 200 others injured. They have based those decisions on controversial amendments to the law on rallies that were passed by the parliament following the deadly violence and allowed the authorities to ban opposition protests practically at will.
The opposition strongly objected to the municipality’s suggestion that it hold its rally in another small square and insisted it would stage its action in Liberty Square in any case.
The planned rally will come three days before the start of the next PACE session in Strasbourg. The assembly is expected to discuss Yerevan’s compliance with its resolution on the political situation in Armenia.