On March 15 a group of citizens concerned with the problem of Mashtots Park gathered in front of the Government building to express their complaint that the participants of the sit-down demonstration were obstructed by the police and removed from the park.
When the activists announced they would start a sit-down demonstration in case of not fulfilling their demand to dismantle the boutiques, the fences which were removed after March 8 again appeared in the park.
“During the sit-down demonstration the activists needed a shelter so one tent was put not in the street or somewhere which would obstruct the movement of people. Besides there is no law or by-law which prohibits putting a tent in a public park” says the participant of the demonstration Grigor Ghazaryan.
On March 13 the activists put a tent.
“The policemen cited that the tent wasn’t included in the items needed for the action. Nevertheless, we said by the initial arrangement that there would be one tent and they agreed there wouldn’t be more than one tent and the activists satisfied with it and spent night in it in turns. During the action a lot of people joint and maybe it caused a concern that the movement was becoming stronger and the second day in the evening without warning they came nearer from both sides, pulled out, pushed each other and tore the tent to pieces” tells Grigor Ghazaryan.
On March 13 at around 9:30 pm the police demanded from the citizens in the tent to dismantle the tent.
According to the participants of the action there was an attempt to distract the activists’ attention through the shouts of some young men in the back side of boutiques, after which more than 100 policemen ran to the tent and destroyed it instead of dealing with the problem of those who broke the public order. Grigor Ghazaryan added that after such an act the police noted that the activists could go to the police and take back the tent with the corresponding petition.
On March 14 the police disseminated a statement mentioning that “the placing tents and such like items in public places are forbidden and the police tolerated it to prevent the aggravation of the situation” and after not fulfilling the demand of police they got down to dismantling it.
The activists describe this step of police as “the cheapest and low step when organizing a performance they attack the participants of peaceful meeting and when their number was much less than the number of policemen.”
The policemen claim that they should inform the police about the sit-down demonstration beforehand while the activists claim they have made a statement on starting a sit-down demonstration and putting a tent which is in the frames of the RA Constitution and doesn’t break any law. “But as we see we met the violent actions of the RA policemen. They claim we do not have right to put tents” mention the activists.
To the question whether it was announced about destroying the tent beforehand one of the policemen answered that a common statement was disseminated in the park after which they took the corresponding steps. But the activists mention the policemen acted without making announcement.
To add, during the demonstration the activists cited the announcement made by the RA Human Rights Defender according to which taking away the tent by the police put during the sit-down demonstration at Mashtots Park is not a legal action and the activists have a right to put a tent.
After finishing their demonstration near the Government building the activists moved to the park where they were met by 60 policemen. Although the activists have stopped the sit-down demonstration they will continue their struggle demanding an immediate dismantling of the boutiques.