On July 17 of this year, early in the morning, a group called “Daredevils of Sasoun” seized a Police HQ in Yerevan. This was accompanied by mass protests on Yerevan’s Freedom Square and on Khorenatsi street(where a Police HQ is situated). Protesters defended “Daredevils of Sasoun” and also defended the conditions that they put forward, namely to release Zhirayr Sefilyan and they demanded President’s resignation. On the same day and during the next protests Armenian policemen exceeded their authority and used violent and instigative actions against civilians and peaceful protesters. Also, on the first day on Yerevan’s Freedom Square a lot of people were detained without any explanations, and all this was accompanied by insults and even violence against women. Especially in the last few days Armenian policemen were armed and they used tear gas and explosives (without any warning) during the fight between protesters (which took place on July 20,on Khorenatsi street) . As a result of that there were a lot of victims, including policemen, which were taken to hospitals. Armenian Police involves in all the actions other policemen, who are wearing civilian clothes, which have no marking signs. They visit families of “Daredevils of Sasoun” participants, threaten kids and women, scare them.
Wives and daughters of “Daredevils of Sasoun” were persecuted in Khorenatsi Street during mass protests. Some of them were detained by police without proper papers and were kept in police station for 3 hours or even more, where they were mocked and treated badly .The funny thing is that on July 22 SISRA (Special Investigation of Republic of Armenia) detained Ani Navasardyan ,who is an activist and politician and who participated in a peaceful meetings. Later she was detained in her yard and arrested, because she was suspected of rioting. From a various videos and other sources we can see, that Ani tells everything that happened to her, she has a lot of injuries and bruises on her body, and she also wrote on her Facebook timeline that she and other people were treated badly on the way to the police station.
Coalition to Stop Violence against Women is strongly concerned and condemns the illegal actions of Armenian police, which have political subtext. In fact, all the actions of Armenian police are accompanied by threats, violence, have a political subtext and are intended to sow fear among women and girls so that they don’t express their opinion and stop visiting rallies.
We demand releasing Ani Navasardyan and other prisoners, and we demand punishing those officers, who treated prisoners badly and inhumanely.
The Coalition to Stop Violence Against Women NGO
Women’s Recourse Center NGO
Women’s Rights Center NGO
Women’s Support Center NGO
Society Without Violence NGO
Public Information and Need of Knowledge NGO
Sexual Crisis Assault Center NGO
Real World, Real People NGO
The following organizations join the statement:
The A. D. Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Protection Center NGO
Ecological Public Union NGO
Ecological Academy NGO
Armenian Environmental Front
Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office
Young Engineers Association NGO
50/50 Civic Initiative
Democracy Today NGO
Analytical Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation