CPJ: Journalists attacked at an opposition rally

Committee to Protect Journalists

Journalists attacked at an opposition rally

New York, April 6, 2004 – Journalists covering yesterday’s opposition rally
in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, were attacked by two dozen men in civilian
clothes. The men smashed journalists’ cameras, assaulted several reporters,
and destroyed filmed footage of the events, the U.S.-funded Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported.

The men attempted to disrupt the rally by throwing eggs at Artashes
Geghamian, the opposition party National Unity leader, who addressed a crowd
of about 5,000 people from atop a van.

Several hundred policemen present at the rally stood by passively as the
assailants smashed the videocameras of three Armenian television stations –
Kentron, Hay TV and Public Television – and the still cameras of two
opposition dailies – Aravot and Haykakan Jhamanak. According to RFE/RL, the
assailants forced reporters with the private television station Shant to
surrender their videotape of the rally. Several reporters and cameramen were
physically injured in the clash, the Association of Investigative
Journalists in Armenia (Hetq) reported.

According to RFE/RL, Onnik Krikorian, a British freelance photojournalist,
who was hit in the face by one of the assailants, approached the police for
protection, but an officer advised him to complain to the British Embassy.