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Armenian Government Critic Assaulted


Armenia - Anti-government activist Edgar Ghazarian speaks to journalists outside a hospital in Yerevan, October 18, 2022.

A vocal critic of the Armenian government who has campaigned for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s removal from power was beaten up outside his Yerevan home on Tuesday.

The activist, Edgar Ghazarian, said he was assaulted by two young men unknown to him. He said they swore at him but voiced no demands or warnings while kicking and punching him in the courtyard of his apartment block.

Ghazarian suffered injuries to his head and other parts of his body and was taken to a hospital following the incident. He left the hospital after receiving first medical aid there.

Speaking to journalists, Ghazarian accused the Armenian authorities and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in particular of organizing the violent attack in retaliation for his political activities.

Some opposition groups echoed the allegation. Former President Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) claimed that the assault was part of the authorities’ efforts to stifle dissent in the country.

During Sarkisian’s decade-long rule, Ghazarian served as a provincial governor and Armenia’s ambassador to Poland. He became the chief of the Constitutional Court staff after the ex-president was toppled in the 2018 “velvet revolution” led by Pashinian. He has harshly criticized the prime minister since losing that post in 2020.

Ghazarian, who is currently not affiliated with any party, set up a fringe opposition group this summer. It rallied several hundred supporters in August in a failed attempt to force Pashinian to resign. Ghazarian said at the time that Pashinian should be ousted by the Armenian parliament or prosecuted for high treason.

Law-enforcement authorities pledged to investigate his beating. They reported no arrests in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

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