Police Statement Justifies Use of Force Against Protesters

Armenian police statement justifies use of force against protesters

Public Television of Armenia, Yerevan
13 Apr 04

Presenter Our correspondent is now at the main police station to tell
us via the phone about a statement issued by the police information
and press department on the events which took place last night.

Correspondent over telephone A spokesman for the Armenian police,
Sayat Shirimyan, read out the statement which said:

An unsanctioned rally which was organized by the leaders of the
Justice bloc and National Unity Party on Freedom Square on 12 April
resulted in disturbances following aggressive calls. At 1900 1400 gmt
the protesters flooded into Bagramyan Avenue and stopped traffic.

The police repeatedly told the protesters to stop their illegal
actions or face the consequences. They continued with their illegal
actions and broke the law. Despite the police warnings, the protesters
acted against the police and threw Molotov cocktails and stones at
them. Their actions were becoming more and more aggressive and
uncontrollable, endangering the policemen’s lives and health.

Taking into consideration the dangerous developments and illegal
actions and the fact that the protesters refused to obey the police,
the latter had to resort to force and take special measures against
the protesters in keeping with the law on the Armenian police.

Some police officers were injured and some were hospitalized. Some
protesters were detained and taken to police stations, for example MP
Shavarsh Kocharyan who brought a rifle with him to the rally. The
organizers and many participants escaped.

An investigation has been launched. The identities of those detained
are being established. The Armenian police said that the operational
situation in the capital is under control. Everything necessary is
being done to liquidate the consequences of the disturbances, to
identify the organizers and participants and to bring them to book.

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS