Armenian Police Break Up Rally Calling for Kocharyan to Resign
Wednesday, Apr. 14, 2004.
YEREVAN, Armenia — Armenian police broke up an opposition rally early
Tuesday in the center of Yerevan called to demand the resignation of
President Robert Kocharyan.
“Overnight, police were forced to dissolve the protest action. Arrests
were made and several people were injured,” police spokesman Sayat
Shirimyan said, without giving details.
Police accused protesters of throwing stones and gasoline bombs. The
opposition, which accuses Kocharyan of rigging his re-election last
year, denied the allegation.
“It’s an absolute lie,” opposition leader Stepan Demirchyan, who
placed second to Kocharyan in last year’s election, told reporters
Tuesday. “People were peaceful, singing, dancing and waiting for
Opposition newspaper Aravot said police used tear gas and water
cannons to break up the demonstration, the latest in a series of
protests since last week.
The rallies are the biggest in Armenia since the presidential
After breaking up the rally Tuesday, police raided the offices of
Armenia’s opposition and detained a number of activists, opposition
“After the police broke up the rally, many of the participants took
refuge in the party office,” said Iveta Sarksyan, an official of
Demirchyan’s Justice Party. “Police forced their way in and took away
the protesters. They later broke the doors to the party press
office. Now they’re all in the police station.”
Police also broke down the door of the office of a second opposition
party, National Unity, and blocked access to a third, the Republic
Several thousand protesters on Monday had intended marching down
Bagramyan Prospekt, the capital’s main street, toward the presidential
office. Police blocked them, and several hundred people stayed on to
continue their action overnight.
Kocharyan has accused his political rivals of attempting to repeat
last year’s revolution in neighboring Georgia.
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress