April 22, 2018 - 22:56 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Mass protests against ex-president and the new Prime Minister of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan continue for 10 days in row. On April 22, meeting between Serzh Sargsyan and opposition leader Pashinyan, who is also the main initiator and leader of the protests against the PM, took place. The meeting was initiated at 10:00 in the Armenia Marriott hotel where the press was also invited. The negotiations barely lasted 5 minutes and the sides made no further agreements. After the meeting the protesters moved towards one of the districts of Yerevan where the police attacked the crowd and captured Pashinyan and 2 other opposition MSs of the movement. Later on it was reported by General Prosecutor's Office that the MPs were arrested. According to Armenian legislation, criminal prosecution can be instigated towards a MP only with agreement of parliament. Without this agreement, a MP cannot be arrested unless he was captured in the place of a crime or immediately after the crime. After the leaders were arrested, the protesters divided into several groups and started walking through different administrative districts of the capital encouraging people to join the movement. Since morning inhabitants of different cities of Armenia including: Armavir, Ashtarak, Etchmiadzin, Vanadzor, Kapan, Spitak etc. joined the protests. People living in villages also took part in the movement periodically trying to block the rods to the cities. Passing vehicles were joining the protesters both in Yerevan and other cities by blocking the streets. Throughout the day, the police made the announcement urging the protesters to stop the mass demonstrations as well as used force against the participants for many times. Special means were also used by the police towards the protesters before Pashinyan was captured. As a result of the demonstrations 10 people were injured according to Ministry of Health of Armenia. The demonstrators were protesting in front of the Shengavit police station for several hours demanding the police to release the captured MPs- Ararat Mirzoyan and Sasoun Mikayelyan. The location of the opposition leader Pashinyan is still unknown. Official message was released by the U.S. Embassy in Armenia where the U.S. government strongly encouraged police and protesters to adhere to peaceful, legal means for freedom of assembly as provided for by the Armenian constitution. The message also stated “we urge government to show restraint to allow for peaceful protest and we urge those exercising their freedom of assembly to do so responsibly, to avoid violence, and to prevent an escalation of tensions.” In addition EU also commented on the situation in Armenia stating that they expect the Armenian authorities to fully respect the right of the demonstrators and to apply the law in a fair and proportionate manner, in accordance with Armenia’s international obligations, including in particular under the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The statement also stated “all those who have been detained while exercising their fundamental right of assembly in accordance with the law must be released immediately.” On April 22, several famous Armenian artists refused from their titles of Honoured Artists of Armenia including actor Mkrtich Arzumanyan, singer Erna Yuzbashyan etc. As of 18:30, in Yerevan, 251 demonstrators were taken to different police stations. By 18:00 protesters from different parts of Yerevan as well as from other cities arrived to the Republic Square where another strike of several thousands people started at 19:00. The many thousand participants of the rally are encouraged to leave by 22:00 and not to stay overnight in the streets due to security reasons. The protesters are also encouraged to stay peaceful and avoid any conflicts with the police or other people as well as come together in the morning to continue the mass protests. Meanwhile the armed forces and military equipment of Azerbaijan were visible along the line of conflict between Artsakh and Azerbaijan. The demonstrations in Yerevan against the ex-president Serzh Sargsyan are being held since April 13. The opposition accuses Sargsyan in inefficient governance of the country and deterioration of the economic situation. On April 16, the protesters tried entering the parliament building however the police prevented their actions. During the mass actions dozens of people were injured. The following day the opposition announced about starting a velvet revolution in Armenia.