A female opposition activist was beaten up by unknown assailants in Yerevan late on Tuesday, in what she and an Armenian opposition alliance consider a politically motivated attack ordered by the authorities.
Syuzanna Gevorgian, 23, said she was assaulted by two well-built men on the street moments after leaving her apartment in the city’s Arabkir district. “They pulled me from behind and I fell down,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “There were two of them. They started kicking me.”
Gevorgian was diagnosed with concussion after being taken to a hospital in Yerevan. One of the doctors who examined her there told 1in.am that she refused hospitalization recommended by them.
The young woman was questioned by the Armenian police on Wednesday. Nobody was immediately detained or charged in connection with the attack.
“I remember [the attackers] saying while beating me: ‘We warned you not to show up anymore,’” said Gevorgian. She said she believes they referred to her active participation in recent anti-government rallies organized by the New Armenian Public Salvation Front, a radical opposition alliance seeking to unseat President Serzh Sarkisian.
Gevorgian claimed to have been assaulted in a similar fashion in August after attending anti-government protests staged by the Founding Parliament movement, a key member of New Armenia. “I was handing out leaflets to Diaspora Armenians urging them to join our struggle,” she said.
“I believe that the latest incident is connected with my political views,” added the activist, who returned to Armenia from Russia last year.
New Armenia also blamed the Armenian authorities for the beating, saying that Gevorgian infuriated the authorities with her calls for Armenians living abroad to return home and fight for regime change in the country. It linked the incident with last week’s arrest and prosecution of Gevorg Safarian, a young New Armenia leader.
Safarian was among five members of the group who were detained while attempting to place a Christmas tree in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on New Year’s Eve. All of them except Safarian were set free shortly afterwards.
The outspoken oppositionist was charged with assaulting a police officer and remanded in pre-trial custody on Sunday. He is facing up to five years in prison.
New Armenia launched on December 6 a campaign of street protests in a fresh attempt to topple the government. The campaign fizzled out within weeks as the opposition group failed to attract large crowds to Liberty Square.