Մատչելիության հղումներ

Police Accused Of Fresh Violence Against Opposition Youths


Armenia -- Opposition supporters rally in Yerevan on July 2, 2009.

The Armenian police acknowledged on Thursday that their officers played a role in yet another violent incident involving young activists that publicized the next opposition rally in Yerevan.

Several opposition youths suffered injuries in the city center on Wednesday evening as they informed passersby through loudspeakers and leaflets about Thursday’s rally by the Armenian National Congress (HAK). Three of them were rushed to hospital for treatment.

The victims told RFE/RL that they were punched, kicked and pistol-whipped by more than a dozen men who did not identify themselves or make any demands. “They pulled me from the back and toppled to the ground,” said Sahak Muradian, a 14-year-old HAK supporter. “One of them said, ‘You too are from the opposition?’ And then five or six of them started beating me. One of them also hit me with a pistol.”

Sona Sevoyan, an eyewitness, said: “One tall guy shouted, ‘Pull out your guns.’ Four of them took out their pistols and one stuck it to Sahak’s head. I feared that they will shoot him.”

“They were plainclothes policemen,” claimed Herbert Gevorgian, 16, who also required hospitalization. “We saw them outside the Kentron police earlier.”

The police confirmed that claim but came up with a totally different version of events. A police statement said law-enforcement at the scene only tried to stop a brawl involving 60 youths. It said the latter defied police orders and attacked some of the officers.

“During the incident several police servicemen received bodily injuries while another was taken to the Surp Grigor Lusavorich medical center in an unconscious state,” the statement said, adding that the three hospitalized youths were among those who attacked them.

Similar incidents occurred on the eve of previous rallies held by the HAK. The opposition alliance accused the Armenian government and police of orchestrating the violence to lower attendance at anti-government protests. The police denied any wrongdoing, saying that police officers themselves were assaulted by opposition activists.

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