Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has condemned the actions of a group of supporters considering themselves to be “revolutionary guards” as a video was circulated on the internet earlier this week showing them demanding an apology from a man for allegedly offending the premier.
During a referendum campaign rally in Vayk, Armenia’s Vayots Dzor province, on Thursday, Pashinian called such actions “unacceptable.”
“For two days now I have been constantly saying that we should not respond to swear words by swearing, to insults by insulting others, but some people who say they act in our defense, in my defense still do such things,” he said.
Pashinian urged his supporters not to succumb to provocations. “If they swear, let them do so, their curses will fall on their own heads,” he said.
Police have launched a probe into the video on which a group of men calling themselves “Revolutionary Guards” makes another man apologize to Pashinian for allegedly swearing at him.
The founders of the radical group are Hayk Stepanian and Vahe Khandilian. According to the group’s Facebook page, “the initiative is aimed at protecting the  revolution and its values in Armenia.”
In a Facebook post Stepanian writes: “Nikol Pashinyan is the prime minister of Armenia, the face of this country. Swearing at him is tantamount to swearing at the people who have elected him.”
Human rights activist Artur Sakunts believes that any action degrading a person’s dignity and aimed at making a person change his or her opinion is unacceptable and reprehensible regardless of who commits it.
“The responsibility for preventing such actions, exposing those who commit such actions and holding them accountable lies directly with the authorities,” Sakunts said.
Deputy Parliament Speaker Alen Simonian also described the actions of the group as unacceptable. The senior member of Pashinian’s Civil Contract party said: “I have to say that such situations do not bring any benefit and have the opposite effect, and doing this in general is unacceptable.”