Showdown: Police Say Mashtots Activists’ Plan Illegal; Protesters Pl

SHOWDOWN: POLICE SAY MASHTOTS ACTIVISTS’ PLAN ILLEGAL; PROTESTERS PLAN DISMANTLING ON SATURDAY
By Gohar Abrahamyan

ArmeniaNow
30.03.12 | 15:04

The Police of Armenia on Thursday released a statement, saying that
if environmental activists of Mashtots Park carry out their plans to
dismantle kiosks in the park, they will be in violation of law and
subject to arrest.

Protesters have been picketing the park since February in opposition
to the installment of the small shops, saying that putting them there
without having first held a public forum on the city’s decision is
itself illegal.

The participants of the environmental movement (including some renowned
scholars) sent an open letter to the Yerevan Municipality and Chief of
Police Vladimir Gasparyan a few days ago, informing them about their
decision to dismantle the pavilions. The names of the participants,
the time and the tools to be used (for dismantling) are mentions in
the statement. Besides, they called on Gasparyan to ensure public
order, as well as the security of the people who plan to participate
in the dismantling.

However, the police officers have already reminded the activists
about the illegality of their possible actions and the consequences.

Andreas Ghukasyan, one of the activists, told ArmeniaNow that in
spite of the police warning, the dismantlement will take place.

“The Police’s mission is not to merely maintain the law formally,
they must ensure citizens’ constitutional rights,” Ghukasyan says.

On Wednesday Armenian Human Rights Defender (Ombudsman) Karen
Andreasyan released a statement expressing his readiness to collaborate
with the activists and at the same time called on them to refuse the
illegal actions and not to dismantle the kiosks.