Society 18:42 13/06/2024 Armenia

UJA decries police violence against media workers at protest in Yerevan

The Union of Journalists of Armenia (UJA) on Thursday issued a statement denouncing the police crackdown on demonstrators and media workers outside the Armenian parliament. The full statement is provided below.

"On June 12, at the intersection of Baghramyan-Demirchyan streets, during the mass protest organized by the Tavush for the Motherland movement, a great number of peaceful demonstrators, among them about a dozen representatives of the mass media, i.e. journalists and operators, were seriously injured as a result of the police's flagrant violation of the law, including the use of stun grenades without proper prior warning.

Numerous videos and photographs of the incident clearly show stun grenades being fired in a targeted manner, including in directions where a large number of cameramen and journalists were concentrated, raising reasonable suspicion that the police, apparently on the orders of the political authorities, targeted media representatives, grossly violating the norms of law enforcement agencies established by domestic legislation and many international conventions to ensure the uninterrupted activity of press representatives performing their professional work during mass events and to show a differentiated approach when using special measures.

News.am operator Vazgen Yetumyan, according to editor Anahit Sargsyan, was injured by a stun grenade used by the police. He is currently in the Heratsi Hospital Complex No. 1 with a cut and laceration on the leg and, the fracture was fixed with plaster.

Mediahub.am reporter Nare Gevorgyan was injured as a result of police actions. The journalist fell to the ground and remained under the feet of the police for several minutes.

The operator of "CivilNet" was also injured, he also injured his leg. According to the statement of the media, their live broadcast equipment was out of order.

Abraham Gasparyan, the founder of the Genesis Armenia Think Tank and foundation, a well-known journalist, TV commentator, was injured as a result of the brutal force used by the police near the National Assembly. His family members informed that he was taken into custody at the Kanaker-Zeytun Police Department and then taken to a medical facility.

AlphaNews journalist Arpine Baghdasaryan and cameraman Hovhannes Hakobyan were injured due to the use of force against the demonstrators by police forces and the stampede. As a result of the actions of the police, the editorial camera and other devices were damaged, some of which were lost.

Armlur.am operator Hovsep Hovsepyan is currently in the hospital.

As a result of police actions in Baghramyan Avenue, journalists and cameramen of ABC media were injured.

The journalist of PARA TV was hit and fainted, the equipment was damaged.

The operator of the LIVEnews.am news site was slightly injured.

It was also noteworthy that during the stampede near the National

Assembly, in a tense situation, journalists' and cameramen's equipment, devices for connecting to the Internet, microphones and cameras were damaged.

The Union of Journalists of Armenia strongly condemns the disproportionate actions taken by law enforcement agencies against citizens on June 12, including the targeting of press representatives, and demands the authorities to immediately identify and criminalize the police officials responsible for such treatment of media workers.

Otherwise, the full responsibility for what happened will be borne by the political power, proving that the act of targeting the journalists was carried out by the order of the higher power. At the same time, we draw the attention of local and international human rights organizations, many structures dealing with freedom of speech and press, calling for an adequate assessment of what happened, guided not by political expediency, but by honest motives to protect the rights of journalists."



Source Panorama.am
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