Attacks on Journalists Are Continuing

Anahit Danielyan


Violence is continuing against journalists in Yerevan who are reporting on the protests and demonstrations under the name Take A Step, Reject Serzh against the RA Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan.

Today, April 22, the police also interfered with Media.am journalist Gayane Asatryan’s work.

Gayane insists that at the intersection of Erebuni-Artsakh street, during a clash between protesters and police officers, that she received a light blow from an officer in a mask.

She was there when the police threw flash grenades at protesters, beat them and pushed them.

Gayane was able to break through the wall of police and be in the area where the detainment cars were. The activists were also there, PMs Sasun Mikayelyan and Ararat Mirzoyan.

“I was filming them, approached Sasun Mikayelyan and asked, did they bet you too?, and he said yes․ Deputy Chief of Police , Levon Yeranosyan was there, and he said, to start beating the moment that the camera was directed towards him, when one of the officers wearing a black mask hit me from behind (not that hard) and started dragging me to the wall of police officers. I was screaming, I’m a journalist, I’m a journalist, but when they took me to the wall of police officers, boy and girl police officers took me by the arms and quietly walked me out. These police officers did not use force against me,” said Gayane.

Today in the afternoon at Yerevan Republic Square, a police officer with a black mask threw RFE/RL reporter Naira Bulghadaryan’s camera, not allowing her to shoot.

The scenes on the live broadcast clearly showed how the police officers were running and at that time the reporter’s camera appeared on the ground, recording the scene from the ground.

The journalist then asked, why were the police trying to interfere with journalists’ work? The Deputy Chief of Police, Valery Osipyan replied, “He did something bad, show me who it was, we will punish him.”

In response, the journalist asked, “He was wearing a mask, how can I point him out?”

Then Osipyan added, “The police are carrying out a special operation, stand in an area where the cameras won’t be damaged.”

Today, April 22, RadioLur correspondent Liana Yeghiazaryan was injured by actions taken at the Artsakh-Erebuni intersection against protesters.

“She was able to get to the Radio House, where ambulance workers provided assistance and advised her to go to the hospital,” writes Armradio.am.  

The journalist, in a conversation with a media reporter tells how the situation was regularly uncontrollable during the protests, sometimes in fact, as a result of actions taken by the police.

According to her, they used flash grenades while detaining Nikol Pashinyan.  

“They were thrown severely irregularly, and were even thrown at the journalists who at the moment were standing right next to Nikol Pashinyan. No one was looking at the journalistic certificates, cameras, moreover, everything was taking place right in front of the cameras. Unfortunately, after the use of flash grenades, there were many who were injured, both citizens and journalists,” said the RadioLur correspondent.

Today, SHANTNEWS.AM correspondent Artak Khulyan, who was reporting on the protests taking place in the Erebuni community, had been subjected to violence.

Artak Khulyan reported that he was beaten with rocks and then electrocuted.

At night at Garegin Nzhdeh Square in Yerevan, policemen beat RFE/RL “Azatutyun” program launcher Anatoli Yeghiazaryan.

According to RFE/RL “Azatutyun,” the incident occurred when Yeghiazaryan, on his way home from work, tried to record on video how about fifty officers were trying to, by use of force, disperse the demonstration of cars blocking the square.

Noticing that their actions were being recorded, 6-7 officers attacked Yeghiazaryan, despite having his RFE/ RL certificate on him and had clearly shown and more than once warned that he is from RFE/RL.

“Ignoring all this, the police threw him on the grown and began to hit him with their feet and hands, especially hitting him in his back and stomach. The police officers let him go only after passers-by became involved in the incident,” wrote Azatutyun.am.

In the Erebuni administrative district, unknown persons wearing medical masks, using batons, began violently beating not only demonstrators but also journalists who were recording the incident, demanding that they stop recording them.

“A group of assailants which was attacking the demonstrators, using rocks and fists, also attacked Factor.am cameraman Hovhannes Sargsyan, hitting him in the head. All this took place in the presence of the police. In the same place, representatives of other mass media outlets were beaten, including a journalist and cameraman from Shant TV,” writes Factor.am.

At the intersection of Erebuni-Artsakh streets, as a result of special means taken by police officers, Gala TV company’s cameramen, Hambartsum Papoyan and Armen Petrosyan were injured.

Police also used violence against Armen Petrosyan. Citizens showed him first aid at the scene where he was lying unconsciously an called an ambulance to take him to the hospital.

On April 22, Public Radio journalist Vruyr Tadevosyan was also attacked on the Avan-Arinj road.

When he announced live on his Facebook page how people wearing medical masks had closed the road, they attacked him, beat him, took away his phone and iPad and broke his car,” wrote Armradio.am.

On the same day, at the Artsakh street Erebuni street intersection, EVN Report journalist, Roubina Margossian, was injured while Nikol Pashinyan was being detained.

The journalist sustained leg injuries as a result of a sound bomb explosion. She also lost hearing in her ear. She returned to work a few hours after having received first aid.

CivilNet journalist Ani Grigoryan was assaulted near Yerevan’s mayor Taron Margaryan’s house in the Avan district on April 21.

The dissatisfaction of the person wearing civilian clothing was caused by a question given by the journalist, wherein she asked what the cause was for the accumulation of people not participating in the protest rallies at that place.

On the same day, two other CivilNet journalists experienced clashes with the police.

The use of force hindered Tatul Hakobyan’s efforts of recording the moment when alleged attempts were taking place to isolate and detain MP and leader of the Take A Step, Reject Serzh movement, Nikol Pashinyan. Alina Nikoghosyan was severely hit in the back by one of the Red Berets, when the journalist was videotaping how demonstrators were being detained at the intersection of Mashtos and Amiryan.  

Anahit Danielyan

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