Diana Ghazaryan

Sit-Down Strikers in Support of Artur Sargsyan Accuse Cops of Harassment and Threats

Organizers of a sit-down demonstration in Yerevan’s Liberty Square calling for the release of Artur Sargsyan from pretrial detention say the police have visited their homes and threatened them.

(Artur Sargsyan, is the man who ferried food to members of the armed Sasna Dzrer group holed up in a Yerevan police station after having seized it last July and presently in pretrial detention. He’s been on hunger strike for the past 21 days.)

Shahen Haroutyunyan, one of the organizers of the sit-down that began on February 27, told Hetq that police visited the home of one of the strikers and threatened to get the young man’s mother fired from her job as a nurse at a local hospital.

The young man apologized to Haroutyunyan for having to leave the sit-down strike.

Haroutyunyan claims that police went so far as to telephone the parents, now in Poland, of a young woman participating in the protest action.

When the woman’s parents told the police that they weren’t against their daughter, an adult, from participating, the police then detained the women’s cousin living in Gyumri.

The police, according to Haroutyunyan, then called the woman in for questioning and again telephoned her parents in Poland, threatening to have her removed from college if she continued the strike. The police also threatened to have the parents extradited back to Armenia.

Last night, sit-down strikers refused to give police any personal data.

Haroutyunyan says police want to pressure people into leaving Liberty Square.

Photo reads: "Freedom to Bringer of Bread"