Yet another young activist campaigning against the government was attacked and beaten up by several unknown men in Yerevan late on Wednesday.
Vigen Davtian, a member of an opposition movement led by Zharangutyun party leader Raffi Hovannisian, said he was confronted by them while handing out flyers urging Yerevan residents to attend an opposition rally on Friday. “They kicked me in the ribs and the face,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) by phone. “I have a black eye. They also punched me.”
Davtian said he received treatment at a nearby hospital after reporting the incident to the police. The latter said on Thursday that they have already identified two of the suspected attackers and are now trying to track them down. A police statement gave no further details.
Davit Sanasarian, a leading member of Zharangutyun, said that while there is no evidence of direct government involvement in the violence he believes that the attackers are government loyalists. “They asked who is organizing the rally and Vigen named Raffi Hovannisian,” Sanasarian said. “They started swearing at Raffi Hovannisian and Vigen … and then began hitting him.”
“The authorities rely on such people,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “They are the ones who ensure the regime’s reproduction during elections. Otherwise, they wouldn’t behave so impudently.”
The incident followed a spate of violent attacks on other, non-partisan activists critical of the government. The attacks prompted strong condemnations from the United States, the European Union and international watchdogs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. It is still not clear whether anybody has been arrested or charged in connection with them.