Mass arrest and reports of police brutality in Armenia

The IRCT condemns the use of violence and punitive force by Armenian police against demonstrators and journalists at peaceful demonstrations held in Yerevan and Gyumri.

“We are highly concerned about the allegations of torture and ill-treatment during these protests and the subsequent arrests. Various reports of police abuse have reached us, and we call upon the Armenian authorities to immediately put a halt to the actions of the police and fully investigate all allegations of torture,” says Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Secretary-General of the IRCT.

Since Monday this week, thousands of demonstrators have been marching in Armenian cities, including at the presidential headquarters in Yerevan, to protest against rising electricity prices. On a number of occasions, riot police were breaking up the protests and apprehending participants in a violent manner.

According to IRCT member in Armenia Foundation Against the Violation of Law (FAVL), plain clothes police officers then hemmed in the demonstrations from the sides and violently removed sit-in participants.

So far, several hundred protesters have been arrested, some of whom have been hospitalised as a result of the police brutality during the demonstrations and at police stations.

Through FAVL, IRCT closely follows the developments in Armenia in expectation that the authorities will take swift action to comply with their human rights obligations and re-establish the rule of law without delay.

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Mika belonged to a period that retains a persistent nostalgia of the irresistible desire to break through the wall, sustained by the memory of the first generation of Soviet dissidents. For him, protecting human rights was about being on the frontline where things happened, where government abused the rights of citizens and disregarded the law.