US Embassy says encouraged by respectful behavior by protestors and police at Yerevan rally

The US Embassy in Armenia has issued a statement on the June 22-23 protests in Yerevan:

We were encouraged by the responsible and generally respectful behavior by both protestors and police on the evening of June 22 during the protests over the planned rise in electricity prices.  Freedom of speech and assembly are fundamental rights in any democracy, and we were pleased to see both sides work in a manner that respected these rights and did not escalate tensions.

However, we are concerned about reports of excessive police use of force to disperse the crowd on the morning of June 23, as well as several reports of abuse while in police custody.

In addition, we are troubled by reports that journalists and their equipment were specifically targeted during the operation.  It is imperative that the Government conduct a full and transparent investigation of reports of the excessive use of force by the police to the full extent of Armenian law.