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Armenian Parliament speaker ‘apologises’ for spitting on ARF member

7 April 2023
Alen Simonyan. Official Photo.

Armenian parliamentary speaker Alen Simonyan has apologised for spitting at a member of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) in central Yerevan.

Simonyan spat on Garen Megerdichian after the latter called him a ‘traitor’ on Sunday.

On Thursday, Simonyan wrote an apology post on Facebook after facing calls to resign.

‘I'm sorry I got out of line’, read Simonyan’s post. ‘Indeed, democracy implies that an official must and can be criticised, and why not? Provocations could also take place. We must not give in to them’.

‘I want to apologise to all CITIZENS of the Republic of Armenia’, Simonyan wrote.

Megerdichian, who does not hold Armenian citizenship, is not mentioned in the post.

Megerdichian claimed that Simonyan ordered his guards to overpower him and then spat in his face in a popular dining area in central Yerevan.


Many in Armenia criticised Simonyan’s behaviour, including the country’s first president, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, who demanded that the ruling party sack the parliamentary speaker. 

However, members of the ruling Civil Contract party have ruled out firing Simonyan.

The Union of Informed Citizens, a civil society organisation, filed a criminal report about the incident to the Prosecutor’s Office, however, they have yet to respond to or comment on the complaint.

Daniel Ioannisyan, the group’s programme director, told RFE/RL that Simonyan’s actions could be described as ‘hooliganism’ under Armenia’s criminal code.

In 2021, Armenia’s then–Minister of High Tech Industry, Hakob Arshakyan, was caught on camera punching a journalist in the face in a cafe in central Yerevan. Arshakyan has since been appointed deputy speaker of parliament.

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