Journalists Attacked in Armenia at Opposition Rally

Federal Information and News Dispatch, Inc.
State Department
April 7, 2004

Journalists Attacked in Armenia at Opposition Rally; Committee to
Protect Journalists release based in part on RFE/RL report

Journalists covering an opposition rally April 5 in Yerevan, Armenia,
were attacked by two dozen men in civilian clothes while hundreds of
police stood by, says the New York-based media freedom advocacy
organization Committee to Protect Journalists.

CPJ based its account of events in part on a report by Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

Following is a press release by the Committee to Protect Journalists:

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Committee to Protect Journalists

New York, New York

April 6, 2004


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)

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.

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(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs,
U.S. Department of State.)