Protests in Yerevan on May 14

Armenian Journalists Injured By Riot Police

50
0

By Naira Bulghadarian

YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — One Armenian journalist was hit by a police vehicle and another knocked unconscious while covering police crackdowns on protesters in Yerevan demanding Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation, on May 14.

The violent incidents condemned by Armenian media associations happened on Tuesday and Monday respectively when police detained scores of people blocking streets in the city center as part of the continuing anti-government protests led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan.

A police van struck Nare Gevorgyan of Mediahub.am on one of those streets. Gevorgyan, who was taken to the hospital from the scene, said she avoided a serious injury despite feeling a “terrible pain in my knee.”

“I briefly lost my vision at that point, and if it weren’t for the police major, Mr. Levon Ghazaryan, I would have definitely fallen,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

Gevorgyan said she believes another officer who drove the van hit her deliberately. She claimed that other police cars were “also driving into people” who disrupted traffic through that street.

Get the Mirror in your inbox:

Armenia’s Investigative Committee said later in the day that it has opened a criminal case in connection with the incident described by it as a “violation of road safety rules.” The law-enforcement agency did not immediately charge anyone.

The other injured reporter, Meri Manukyan of 24news.am, also accused the police of deliberately toppling her during the dispersal of a similar protest in Yerevan on Monday. Manukian lost her consciousness and was hospitalized as a result.

The incident drew strong condemnation from eight local press freedom groups. In a joint statement issued late on Monday, they said Manukian is the fifth Armenian journalist physically attacked by security forces since the beginning of the protests. It deplored the fact that no police officer is known to have been held accountable for the “totally unjustified use of force.”

The statement also demanded that the Armenian police finally take “serious measures to ensure the unhindered work of journalists and cameramen and exclude violence against them during mass protest actions.”

 

Get the Mirror-Spectator Weekly in your inbox: