The Armenian Police have reported the arrest of a person who allegedly tried to attack Raffi Hovannisian in a central Yerevan square last weekend amid accusations from the opposition leader’s camp that officers supposed to maintain public order in the venue of continuing protests showed inaction during the incident.
Hovannisian, the official runner-up in last month’s presidential election, has been on a hunger strike since March 10, spending days and nights in Liberty Square in a protest against the outcome of the vote that gave victory to current President Serzh Sarkisian.
The 53-year-old United States-born politician surrounded by family members, activists and supporters spends most of the time sitting on a public bench, while occasionally taking a rest in a makeshift tent put up next to it. He also attends various events staged by activists in the square to cheer him up and support the continuing protest.
Hovannisian was attending one such event, a folk music concert, Saturday evening, when a “wildly yelling” person rushed towards him with what the oppositionist’s camp said was an intention to kill.
The former candidate’s headquarters issued a statement afterwards accusing about two dozen police officers present in the square of failing to react to the violent development. It said the “potential murderer” was stopped only by ordinary citizens.
“We express our deep disappointment with the Armenian Police that, while executing unlawful political orders, failed to prevent the encroachment upon Raffi Hovannisian at the time when it was needed and also failed to ensure the security of citizens in Liberty Square,” said Hovannisian’s headquarters.
Meanwhile, in a report released on Monday the Police’s Press Service said that officers on duty in Liberty Square on March 23 arrested a man who had attempted to push his way towards Hovannisian “hurling obscenities and insults” against the opposition leader in the process.
The report identified the man as a 53-year-old Ghazar Gh.. It did not disclose other details of the incident.