Police in Armenia have detained several people protesting what they say is the government’s ‘unacceptable attitude’ towards the country’s security and the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
On Saturday, police detained eight members of the Zang movement for attempting to set up a tent on Mashtots Avenue, a main thoroughfare in Yerevan.
They were released the same day, but several were detained again on Sunday for refusing to limit their protest to pavements.
The Zang (‘bell’) movement — formerly known as the Dignity Movement — was formed earlier this year and is fronted by several former MPs from the ruling My Step Alliance and the opposition Citizen Decision party.
Their stated goal is to push the government to resign and to ‘have a sovereign state that will be able to solve its problems on its own and not be broken by the winds blowing from all sides’.
Before the latest detentions on Sunday, Tatevik Hayrapetyan, a member of the movement and former My Step MP, stated that the movement must ‘withstand this blow, show that it cannot be the case that Azerbaijanis come and call our country ‘West Azerbaijan’, and Nikol Pashinyan has given up the fight’.
Another member of the movement, Mikael Nahapetyan, stated that the group seeks to ‘become a fire to warm people’s frozen hearts, break people’s fears, instil confidence in those people to come and stand next to the goals that we propose’.
He also announced plans to hold a march to set up a ‘symbolic tent […] wherever it suits us and keep it as long as the strength of the citizens holding the tent will allow’.