Yet another participant of a continuing sit-in outside the Yerevan Mayor’s Office was allegedly beaten up on Wednesday night in what leaders of the protest call a government-backed campaign of intimidation.
The young activist, Arman Aleksanian, claimed to have been attacked and injured by more than a dozen unknown men as he returned home from the site of the protest late in the evening. Aleksanian said he reported the incident to the police.
Aleksanian’s head was visibly injured and he limped heavily as he moved on Thursday, complaining of pain in his right knee. “I would like the police to ensure my security,” he said.
The chief of the Yerevan police, Ashot Karapetian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the reported attack is being investigated. Nobody was detained as of Thursday evening.
Aleksanian, 21, is one the dozens of young people who have been demonstrating outside the municipality on a daily basis ever since Mayor Taron Markarian attempted unsuccessfully to sharply raise the cost of public transport in Yerevan in late July. Markarian suspended the price hike following angry street protests staged by a much larger number of non-partisan activists.
The sit-in participants are demanding the sacking of Henrik Navasardian, head of the transport department at the Yerevan municipality, and the director of a municipal bus operator, Misak Hambardzumian. Markarian has rejected their demands.
Five other activists said they were assaulted at various locations in the city center late last month. One of them said some of the attackers demanded an end to the campaign against “our dads.” Nobody was arrested in connection with those incidents. Leaders of the protest accused the municipal administration and police of conspiring to bully them.
Navasardian’s son reportedly threatened the protesters at the scene of the sit-in earlier this week. The police detained him and impounded his car for drunk driving shortly afterwards.