Any kind of promotion of violence and hatred in Armenia must receive strong counter-action, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said at the beginning of today’s Cabinet meeting, emphasizing that it doesn’t anyhow matter whether these promoters are proceeding as supporters or opposition of the government.
“One year ago a non-violence, velvet revolution took place in Armenia and afterwards a number of forces, including those directly or indirectly linked with the former corrupt system, attempted to create a certain arena of political activities for them, which is natural for any democratic country. As a result of one year attempts and activities these forces finally understood that they’ve irreversibly appeared in a political margin, and in the latest period we are seeing the following manifestations, that, basically, against a prospect of receiving any kind of desperate political support, certain circles decided to carry out promotion of political legitimization of violence in Armenia. And even in this context organized campaigns are carried out, the main message being that they are preparing to solve political issues through violence. And these messages, rhetoric are receiving a more and more organized nature. And we have operative information that a certain segment of these circles decided to form groups of so-called men-in-black, who will tour around town in an attempt to create a certain mood, to stand out with a certain behavior and more,” Pashinyan said.
In this context, the PM noted that in a country where a non-violent revolution has won and where calls for violence are taking place the law enforcement system cannot be a velvet one. “In such conditions the law enforcement system must give a very strong counter-blow to all such occurrences. Starting from the occurrences when for example certain people at certain hours of the day are attempting to make the Yerevan Freedom Square a driving zone, drive cars on sidewalks, and this is basically done with a certain goal – to falsely show as if anarchy is established in the country, as if there is no law enforcement or it is weak. I want to say for the record that in similar cases the law enforcement system must treat the problem not only as a violation of traffic laws, since these aren’t simple traffic violations, this is clear disregard for the society, for the rule of law, the state structure, and it isn’t only the traffic police that must deal with these cases, but also security forces and forces dealing with public order. Anyone doing these kind of things must seriously regret for what they’ve done,” the PM said.
He said he has spoken about the issue with Police Chief Valery Osipyan in the morning.
“Regarding these men-in-black groups, they must be located, their clothing problem must be solved, they should be given colorful bow ties, and seen off towards a normal, civilized and law abiding life with the brightest possible flowers,” the PM said.
Both Osipyan and National Security Service Director Arthur Vanetsyan responded and said the task will be completed.
The PM also addressed Prosecutor General Arthur Davtyan. He told Davtyan to deal with the issue also in terms of public safety.
“This is a matter of public safety and national security. And treating these issues only within the framework of a criminal code article in my opinion isn’t that justified. If there is the necessity then legislative changes must be initiatives and the promotion of violence and hatred must receive a very strong counteraction. I want to emphasize that it doesn’t matter whatsoever whether these persons carrying out the promotion of violence or hatred are acting as supporters or opposition of the government. Anyone promoting violence in Armenia must receive strong counterblow. I want you to understand correctly, this isn’t about political activities, criticism or strong criticism, which is irreversible guaranteed I Armenia”, the PM said, adding that the counterblow to the promotion of violence must be “iron-hard”.