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Protests continue in Armenia in demand of detainees’ release

3 June 2024
The Tavush for the Motherland protest in front of the Investigative Committee. Image via Tavush for the Motherland.

Members of the anti-government group Tavush for the Motherland have marched to Armenia’s Investigative Committee demanding the release of 27 detainees and that police officers be held accountable for violence against protesters.

The movement, initially created to protest the border delimitation process with Azerbaijan, marched to Armenia’s Investigative Committee on Monday.

They demanded a meeting with a representative of the committee, but were instead instructed to submit an application for a meeting through the police guarding the building.

They were demanding the release of 27 protesters detained on Friday and for the authorities to investigate acts of police violence against the protests.

‘We demand from the investigative committee to start proceedings against all those hooligans who beat and thrashed people with [groups of] 10, 20, and seven people’, said Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, the leader of the movement, who went on to list the names of his supporters who were injured by the police.

Galstanyan said that law enforcement agencies should protect citizens, not terrorise them.

During the demonstration on Monday, protesters held chains and mirrors to the police surrounding the Investigative Committee to ‘shame’ them for cracking down on protesters.


On Friday, the movement held a protest in front of the Foreign Ministry, similarly demanding a meeting with representatives of the ministry to demand an Armenian response to Turkish and Azerbaijani statements regarding the Khojali massacre, the killing in 1992 by ethnic Armenian troops of Azerbaijani civilians.

Galstanyan said that should the Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan refuse to come out and offer the protester an explanation, he would be a ‘participant of the Azerbaijani–Turkish agency network’.

Armenia’s Investigative Committee has reported that the protesters used violence against police officers in an attempt to overcome their barricades and enter the Foreign Ministry. Some of the participants of the protests called on other protesters to occupy the building.

The authorities have claimed seven injuries among police officers alongside an unknown number of injured protesters. The movement has in response released photos of injuries sustained by their supporters.

The protesters detained on Friday were either to be charged or released within 72 hours of their detention.

The Tavush for the Motherland movement vowed to hold acts of civil disobedience last month, with their focus shifting from protesting the border delimitation process in Armenia’s northeast to calling on the government to resign.

They have been holding acts of civil disobedience since amidst reports of police violence against protesters, with one opposition MP, Armenia Alliance’s Ashot Simonyan, being attacked by a group of riot police.

On Monday, RFE/RL reported that the General Prosecutor’s Office had launched an investigation into the attack on Simonyan.

[Read more: Armenian rights groups condemn police attacks on opposition MP and protesters]

The movement disbanded their protest later on Monday evening, announcing that those detained would be released without charge.

During the protest on Monday Galstanyan stated that Pashinyan ‘wants to see blood, his heart wants it’.

Read in Russian on SOVA.News.
Read in Georgian on On.ge.
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