The European Union on Thursday, July 21 commented on the recent situation in Yerevan following an armed police station takeover, stating that the use of force to achieve political change is unacceptable.
An armed group seized a police HQ and took everyone inside hostage. They are members of the Sasna Tsrer movement. One police officer was killed, and three more were wounded in a shootout that broke as the members of the group hit the gates of the police department with a Ural track. Several captives have been set free so far. The hostages include Armenia’s deputy police chief General Major Vardan Eghiazaryan and Yerevan deputy police chief Colonel Valeri Osipyan. The group demand the release of Jirair Sefilian, the founder of the Founding Parliament who was arrested on June 20, as he and a group of people had planned to seize premises and communication facilities, including the Yerevan TV tower.
“With concern we note reports on excessive use of force and mass arrests by the police,” the Union’s delegation to Armenia said in a statement.
“In this regard, we call on the authorities to observe the principle of proportionality in handling public rallies, including both peaceful and violent gatherings. Likewise, demonstrators need to refrain from violence as they make use of their civil rights.”
“We also take note of the statements issued by the Ombudsman and call for a full investigation of all cases of alleged wrongdoing by the police, including mistreatment, denial of access to lawyers and medical care,” the statement went on to say.