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Armenian Police Stop Opposition Motorcade Rallies


Armenia - Police arrest a participant of a motorcade rally held by the Armenian opposition in Yerevan, May 16, 2022.

Police detained more than 90 people on Monday to break up fresh motorcade rallies organized by the Armenian opposition as part of its ongoing civil disobedience campaign against the government.

Dozens of vehicles driven by opposition activists were stopped by security forces as they slowly traveled to the center of Yerevan from the city’s outskirts in several simultaneous processions that began early in the morning.

The drivers were forcibly removed from the cars that were subsequently towed away by the police amid traffic jams.

Opposition leaders condemned the police actions, saying that the drivers did not violate traffic rules and simply exercised their legal right to peaceful assembly.

“The policemen that you are seeing are a minority in the [law-enforcement] system, and let this police minority bear in mind that it will be held accountable,” one of them, Aram Vartevanian, told reporters.

Vartevanian accused the police of seriously damaging some of the impounded cars.

Armenia - A car belonging to an opposition protester is towed away in Yerevan, May 16, 2022.
Armenia - A car belonging to an opposition protester is towed away in Yerevan, May 16, 2022.

A police statement released later in the day defended the arrests and the dispersal of the motorcades, saying that they disrupted traffic in the city. It urged opposition supporters not to “restrict other citizens’ freedom of movement by interfering with traffic.”

The police did not halt similar processions organized by the country’s leading opposition forces last week.

They broke up the latest motorcade rallies as the daily anti-government protests entered their third week. The opposition Hayastan and Pativ Unem alliances pledged to step up the pressure on Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian as thousands of their supporters again marched through central Yerevan on Sunday.

Pashinian has rejected opposition demands for his resignation sparked by his recent statements on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

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