Armenian police on Monday thwarted a protest in Yerevan planned by a group of young people demanding that the government refuse to endorse the planned deal with Turkey.
The newly established national conservative movement that was joined by another six youth organizations had planned to stage a march towards the government offices in the capital’s main Republic Square and the presidential palace on the other end of the city center demanding that the authorities start the formal process of the recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh and refuse to sign two protocols that envisage the normalization of relations with Turkey.
Organizers of the march said the current Armenian-Turkish rapprochement contradicts the state and national interests of the Armenian people.
The municipality of Yerevan had prohibited the march explaining that it would affect traffic in the busiest parts of the city and could also disrupt the normal work of the government.
Protesters, therefore, had decided to stage a march involving less than 100 people that does not call for municipality approval.
Police officers, however, prevented the youths from staging their procession.
“Police did not hinder anything. Who told you? You, journos, stop participating in these rallies,” said one officer addressing his words to RFE/RL’s reporter.
Police Patrol Service Chief Robert Melkonian challenged Edgar Helhelian, the deputy head of the Student Union of the National New Conservative Movement, by saying: “Where are you going? The whole traffic is now disrupted. You will not stage any march. Ok? Pick five people and go and present your demand.”
“Mr. Colonel, do you consider yourself above the Constitution?” Helhelian hit back.
Eventually, the students decided to decline the police offer to proceed to the government offices with a five-man group and canceled their action altogether.
“This is a political action staged by people who are concerned with the future of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. What’s the point in staging it with a five-member group?” explained Helhelian.