July 2, 2015 - 16:28 AMT
Electric Yerevan: Police "count on demonstrators' good sense"

The Armenian police count on good sense of demonstrators against the power tariff rise and speedy voluntary opening of Bagramyan Avenue in central Yerevan, Deputy Chief of Yerevan Police Valery Osipyan told reporters today (July 2), according to Panorama.am.

“Bagramyan Avenue has been blocked illegally. The police will regularly take preventive measures to restore public order. Free movement of other citizens has been restricted disproportionately,” he said.

The Armenian police issued a statement yesterday, July 1, calling on the rally organizers and participants to be reasonable, respect the Constitution and laws of Armenia, rights and legitimate interests of other people, and voluntarily clear Bagramyan Avenue.

The statement says:

“From June 19-22, 2015 the citizens protesting against the increase of the price of electricity, organized an assembly and a twenty-four-hour sit-in on Freedom Square, violating the procedures envisaged by the law on Freedom of Assemblies. On June 22, the above-mentioned persons carried out an illegal march towards Baghramyan Avenue completely blocking the movement of transport means and pedestrians, and at 8 pm the march was turned into а sit-in at the same place. The police regularly carried out preventive and precautionary measures in line with legislation of and international standards during the whole process of the assembly and march as well as the 10-hour sit-in that followed. And only in the morning of June 23 the Police was forced to stop the assembly after the long and useless negotiations on admonishing to continue the assembly on Freedom Square and neglected multiple precautions on stopping the unauthorized assembly. In accordance with the line of acting relevant to such cases, the police immediately conducted internal proceedings to verify the lawfulness of its employee’s actions as well.

However, on the evening of the same day the organizers and participants of the assembly once again completely blocked the traffic of Baghramyan Avenue and adjacent streets through the new unlawful assembly, as well as the march, sit-in and other illegal actions that followed.

From the mentioned period till now the police showed tolerance towards the long term blocking of one of Yerevan city’s main avenues, the fact of bringing unallowed items to the place of assembly, as well as towards the noise in the areas surrounding residential buildings at nighttime disturbing the rest of the people, giving the opportunity to the participants to this assembly to express their position on the issue of public interest.

At the same time the police state that any implementation of the right for the freedom of assemblies despite its nature, the essence of the demand of the participants or their attitude towards the satisfaction of those demands should be in line with the relevant provisions of the Armenia's Constitution, law on Freedom of Assemblies and other legal acts.

In this regard the right to freedom of assemblies, first of all doesn’t and can’t be absolute and can be limited for the purpose of public order or protection of constitutional rights and freedoms of others in democratic society as well as guaranteeing the regular traffic circulation.

It comes precisely from legislative regulations that any assembly has its beginning and the end, that is to say it should be temporary. Besides this, the right to the freedom of assemblies does not include the satisfaction of the demand expressed during the assembly.

At the same time the police attach importance to the fact that the organizers and the participants of the assembly have had enough time to announce their demands, as well as to present them to the society, the competent authorities and to the officials.

In these circumstances one of the main transportation channels of Yerevan city, which provides a daily movement of tens of thousands of people, including the requirement to work, leisure and other requirements, continues to remain blocked for indefinite time: moreover, on the road section and on the sidewalks of Baghramyan avenue the objects or barriers restricting the movement of public transport and pedestrians are installed. Eventually, one of the city's constantly busy highways has been closed for a long term and is used for the leisure activities or sports and cultural events.

Based on the above mentioned facts and legal assessments given to them, the Armenian police announce that the closure of Baghramyan avenue and its consequences excessively restrict the constitutional rights of other people and social interests.

Therefore, the police calls on the organizers of the assembly to respect the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Armenia, the rights and legal interests of others and voluntarily eliminate blocking of Baghramyan Avenue, which continues about 10 days.

At the same time, police of the Republic of Armenia urge the organizers of the assembly and participants:

- to hold futurw public events in accordance with the requirements of the law of the Republic of Armenia on Freedom of Assembly.

- to move the assembly to another place, as a result of negotiations with the police.

Otherwise, the police of the Republic of Armenia will be forced to exert the powers vested by legislation of the Republic of Armenia in full.

Police of the Republic of Armenia hope that the public order disrupted in recent days, activities of public organizations, as well as violated rights of people will be possible to restore in an atmosphere of understanding and good will, without coercion or use of force.”