Journalists have been barred from attending Yerevan City Council days after reporting on the physical assault of two female councillors. Two women from the opposition Yerkir Tsirani (Apricot Country) party were attacked last week and thrown out of the council by a number male councillors from the ruling Republican Party.
According to RFE/RL’s Azatutyun, reporters will now only be able to follow council sessions through monitors, which are to be installed in a separate room.
Journalists were ordered to leave the building on 19 February as they visited the Council to interview the leader of Yerkir Tsirani, Zaruhi Postanjyan.
According to Caucasian Knot, the journalists had observed a group of employees of the council playing cards in an office during the visit. After this, security ordered them to leave, claiming Postanjyan had violated the rules, ‘since she has the right to invite journalists only to her office’.
The Council administration claims that the decision should not be interpreted as a ‘restriction in any way’, Azatutyun said.
Nine media organisations have issued a statement condemning the move, Caucasian Knot reported.
On 13 February, Marina Khachatryan and Sona Aghekyan, both members of Yerkir Tsirani, brought jars of sewage in to a debate in protest at living conditions in one of Yerevan’s districts.
Footage from a number of outlets showed Khachatryan being physically prevented from presenting the jars to Mayor Taron Margaryan.
Khachatryan is pushed several times by a number of male councillors from the ruling Republican Party. One of them is seen to slap her while another grabs her by the hair from behind, pulling her away. Both are then physically removed from the council.
The brawl sparked a protest rally later that day, and further discussions on misogyny in society and politics.
[Read on OC Media: Yerevan City Council brawl sparks rally against misogyny]