Police Disperse Opposition Rally


YEREVAN, APRIL 13, ARMENPRESS: Armenian police used water cannons
and stun grenades to disperse an opposition rally in Yerevan, that was
demanding the resignation of president Robert Kocharian. A special
operation for driving the protesters from the Marshal Baghramian
Avenue, where the presidential palace and the parliament building are
situated, was started today morning at 02.00, local time.

The police told Armenpress that the decision to start the operation
was made after the unsanctioned rally, organized by the Ardarutyun
(Justice ) alliance and the National Unity on April 12, moved from
Theater Square in downtown Yerevan to Baghramian Avenue, developing
into an uncontrolled gathering that was accompanied by provocative
calls and offensive language together with announcements for a violent
overthrow of the current authorities.

The police said the gathering disrupted the traffic and normal work
of several government agencies and foreign diplomatic missions and
public order, as the demonstrators were singing and dancing,
shattering peace and quiet of residents in nearby houses.

The police said that despite numerous warnings that their actions
were illegal and in violation of laws, and that they would be
retaliated appropriately if continued, the demonstrators took no
notice, throwing in response fire-bombs, bottles and stones.

The police said the demonstrators’ actions were getting more and
more aggressive, threatening both police officers and ordinary
citizens, as a result they had to apply physical force and other
measures, stipulated by the Law on Police, to stave off further
offenses of the law and neutralize the danger to people’s life and
health. The police said demonstrators were armed with batons, metal
rods and knives.

The clash between police officers and demonstrators left several
officers and demonstrators injured, some were taken to hospitals. The
police said some of opposition activists and leaders were detained,
including a parliament member Shavarsh Kocharian, who, they said, was
armed with a gun. Some of other opposition leaders took to flight. The
police said they are now tying to track them down and arrest. The
police said they have notified the chief prosecutor about their
actions. They also said that the situation is now under the full
control of the authorities.