YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — At least three activists highly critical of Armenia’s current leadership were briefly detained in Yerevan on Tuesday, January 28, in what they denounced as a government attempt to intimidate them.
They all were set free without charge after spending several hours in police custody.
The Armenian police said two of the outspoken activists, Narek Maliyan and Konstantin Ter-Nakalyan, were detained on suspicion of illegal arms possession. Both men shrugged off the explanation.
An amateur video posted on the Internet showed masked officers of a special police unit toppling Maliyan to the ground outside his office in downtown Yerevan, handcuffing him and pushing him into a car.
Another activist, Artur Danielyan, was stopped by policemen while driving his car and airing a live video address on Facebook. Danielyan said after his release later in the day that two of his associates were also forcibly taken to a police station. He said they were told that they are suspected of drug possession.
Some opposition figures and other critics of the Armenian government condemned the detentions as arbitrary, saying the authorities are trying to stifle dissent in the country.