By Rashid Shirinov
Protests in Armenia are a usual thing but they gained more strength after the Sasna Tser movement, an armed group that took over the police station on July 17 demanding the release of jailed opposition leader Jirair Sefilian, and calling for the resignation of the Sargsyan regime.
The Sasna Tser movement surrendered after two weeks, but Armenians do not seem as if they are willing to surrender and keen to continue to protest against Sargsyan’s regime trying to defend their rights.
Civic initiatives such as “Freedom for political prisoners”, “Sasna Tsrer” and“David Sanasaryan” have started a new wave of public protests against the current regime and illegal arrests in the country.
The situation escalated to highest point with the sending of an open letter to Head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, and Head of the European Parliament Martin Schulz on August 16.
The letter reads: “We are concerned over the illegal detention of peaceful demonstrators, who were arrested in Armenia on July 29, 2016.” The letter also includes names of those arrested protesters, who were severely beaten by the police. They are mainly members of political party “Heritage”, movements “Arise” and “Get up, Armenia”.
There were revealed credible reports of violence and excessive use of force by the police to disperse protestors during the night of July 29-30. Then, Armenian police arrested 165 people. Following the events, 73 people addressed medical institutions with injuries of varying severity. During the crackdown of police, journalists and cameramen also got injured.
Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Service of Armenia (SIS) continues preliminary investigation into the criminal case on the seizure of the police station by the Sasna Tsrer. To date, 60 people, who took part in riots, have been arrested.
Lawyers raise alarms over poor health condition of arrested members of Sasna Tsrer group.
The Civic initiatives also sent a letter to Head of the European People’s Party (EPP) Joseph Daul, urging him to use all leverages and apply all possible sanctions in order to officially exclude the “criminal ruling Republican party of Armenia” from the EPP and to demand an immediate end to violence.
“We are waiting for your immediate action. Armenians all over the world are waiting for your efforts,” the letter reads.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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