Electricity Fare Hike Protests Continue in Yerevan, Detainees Released
Aghvan Vardanyan: Police Must Be Held Accountable
YEREVAN (A.W.)—Hours after the assault on and arrest of protesters demanding the annulment of the decision to increase electricity tariffs in Armenia, thousands are continuing their demonstration by once again marching from Yerevan’s Freedom Square to Armenia’s Presidential residence.
In the early hours of June 23, police moved in on the protesters aided with water cannons. More than 230 protesters were arrested. The protesters did not fight back, and some were assaulted in the process, reported Azatutyun.am.
Speaking to reporters today during the ongoing protest, Yerevan’s Deputy Police Chief Valery Osipyan said the protesters who had been arrested earlier in the day had been released. Osipyan also said that for the most part, police did not perform any illegal actions, and will detain protesters again if necessary.
When asked about the use of excessive force, Osipyan said that any officer who had acted illegally would be held responsible. “If there has been any excessive force used, I personally apologize. An investigation by the chief of police is already underway and I can assure you that all those who used excessive force will be held responsible and given appropriate punishment,” he said.
National Assembly member and Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Supreme Council representative Aghvan Vardanyan told reporters that those responsible for what happened to protesters on the morning of June 23 should be held accountable. Vardanyan added that the protesting youth were peaceful, well organized, and within their rights as citizens, and that those responsible for breaking up their protest should be punished.
On June 23, the ARF Press Office issued a statement demanding the release of the arrested protesters, as well as an investigation into all instances of the use of excessive force by authorities.
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