More and more people are joining the protest actions in Yerevan. Initially, there were a few thousand protesters, but on July 25-26 and 26-27 nights, their number grew to 10,000-20,000. The people marched from the Republic Square to Khorenatsi Street. “Almost 3 kilometers of people!” the activists said, hardly believing their own eyes. But even if their figures are overstated, it is fact that the wave of protest in Yerevan is on the rise.
On July 25-26 night, there was a skirmish between police and the Sasna Tsrer group, who have captured the police office in the center of Yerevan. As a result, two activists were injured. Later, a car with food for the besieged broke through the cordon. The police shot at the car, but the driver, Artur Sargsyan, survived. On July 26 morning, those inside the building said that they had found secret lists proving that those serving in the office were engaged in illegal, pandering-related, activities.
The following night saw the police’s clashes with supporters. The protesters said that there were plain-clothed policemen among them. Later, they heard the sound of shots coming from the captured police office and rushed to the scene. During the skirmish, the police wounded one of the leaders of the group, Pavlik Manukyan and his son Aram. Both were hospitalized. The authorities claim that two more activists, Gagik Yeghiazaryan and Aram Hakopyan, have surrendered, but the activists say that their injured comrades have been carried away by the police.
Last night the police started detaining people in the streets. Among those detained is President of Asparez Journalists’ Club Levon Barseghyan. Despite his earlier refusal to join the protesters, opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan was also there last night. Later, he went to see the injured activists. On July 23, he called on people to join the protest actions. His calls must have been heard as for two days already there have been protest actions in the northern Armenian city of Vanadzor.
The bad news is that the besieged have detained the doctors that came to help them. This was a big surprise for the supporters and may well change their attitude towards the activists.
As of now, the Sasna Tsrer group are still inside the building and are not going to surrender. Their leader Araik Khandoyan insists that the authorities should meet all of their initial requirements: President Serzh Sargsyan must resign, oppositionist Zhirayr Sefilyan and all those detained over the last week must be set free. They are planning to organize one more protest action and to involve more people in it.