They were among more than a hundred protesters detained on Monday while clashing with riot police outside a government building in Yerevan.
The clashes broke out after the police did not allow opposition lawmakers leading hundreds of supporters to enter the building to raise their concerns with government ministries.
Several protesters claimed to have been beaten up by police officers after being dragged away and forced into the sprawling building. No policeman has been prosecuted or suspended in connection with that.
Armenia’s Investigative Committee has indicted instead the eight men, who have not been released from custody unlike the other detainees. They are accused of assaulting police officers and refusing to obey their orders.
The arrested suspects include a nephew of former President Serzh Sarkisian and a son of Surik Khachatrian, a fugitive former governor of Syunik province. They both deny any wrongdoing.
Opposition leaders likewise reject as politically motivated charges leveled against these and more than a dozen other supporters arrested since the start on May 1 of the daily street protests in Yerevan aimed forcing Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian to resign.
The opposition as well as the country’s human rights ombudswoman, Kristine Grigorian, and some civic activists have accused the police of using disproportionate force against protesters throughout the month-long demonstrations.
Grigorian said on Thursday that her office documented several cases of police brutality during Monday’s clashes and petitioned the leadership of the national police service to take appropriate action.
The police claim to have launched internal inquiries into some officers. None of them has been prosecuted so far.
Justice Minister Karen Andreasian insisted that this fact does not testify to a cover-up of unlawful police actions. He argued that internal police inquiries typically last for months.
Andreasian also claimed that barring “several unacceptable incidents” security forces’ handling of the continuing anti-government protests has been “brilliant and professional.”
The U.S. ambassador to Armenia, Lynne Tracy, assured reporters on May 20 that the Armenian government is “taking heed of the need to investigate” the disproportionate use of force against protesters. She said the protests should be peaceful and not create “chaos” in the streets.