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Opposition Activists Blame Government For Attacks


Armenia - Karabakh war veteran Suren Sargsian addresses a rally in Yerevan.

Armenia - Karabakh war veteran Suren Sargsian addresses a rally in Yerevan.

Three political activists involved in recent Armenian opposition protests have reportedly been assaulted in Yerevan in what they described on Wednesday as a government attempt to intimidate them.

All three men -- Suren Sargsian, Manvel Yeghiazarian and Razmik Petrosian -- are well-known veterans of the 1991-1994 war with Azerbaijan highly critical of Armenia’s political leadership. Sargsian is also a leader of the Alliance of Freedom Fighters, a small group that has participated in rallies held by three leading opposition parties.

Sargsian needed urgent medical aid in hospital on Wednesday after being beaten up by unknown men. The activist, who suffered a concussion and serious facial injuries, said they wore masks and said nothing about the reasons for attacking him.

Speaking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), Sargsian claimed that the attack was government retribution for his political activities. “The authorities are thus trying to silence us,” he said.

Yeghiazarian and Petrosian, who were prominent field commanders during the Nagorno-Karabakh war, claimed to have been attacked by a group of younger men at a Yerevan restaurant on Monday. Yeghiazarian said one of the men provoked the brawl by rudely complaining about their anti-government attitudes. He too accused the Armenian authorities of involvement in the attack.

The chief of the Armenian police, Vladimir Gasparian, said later in the day that law-enforcement authorities will investigate the Monday’s incident only if the two victims lodge formal complaints. Both war veterans as well as Sargsian said they will not do that because they do not trust the police.

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