Sunday, 2 March 2008

Police disperse attempt to rally in Gyumri, Armenia, and assault local journalists

Today, there were attempts to continue spontaneous gatherings (rally) in Theatrical sq in a second city of Armenia – Gyumri (Gyumri residents were rallying there last evening). However, the Theatrical sq was cordoned off by police forces from early morning. Police tried to disperse gatherings but people still kept coming. They argued that “state of emergency applies to Yerevan only, but not to regions” or that “it is not a rally; just people get together to discuss the situation”. People expressed their anger against violent crackdown of opposition movement in Yerevan. They were there to protest and express their solidarity with Yerevan demonstrators. Eyewitness reports on at least one case of police knocking down an elderly person. At the end, police managed to dispers people.

In the meantime, police assaulted several journalists, including from Radio Liberty and Aravot daily. As I previously posted, Levon Baghdasaryan, president of Asparez journalists’ club was detained, along with several journalists from local independent Gala TV (which faces closure for ‘technical reasons’ for quite some time know). There are reports that police broke Gala TV camera. (UPDATE - 3 March 2008 - Gala TV denied today reports of their camera being broken)

Levon Barseghyan and Gala TV journalists have just been released.

*based on Radio Liberty broadcast

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