Violence towards rally participants in Armenia causes serious concern - OSCE
Baku, Azerbaijan, June 25
Michael Link, the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, urged the Armenian authorities to respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly of those, taking part in a peaceful rally in the center of Yerevan, News.am reported, the OSCE official website said.
"As all OSCE member-states, Armenia has committed to protect and promote the fundamental freedom of peaceful assembly," he said. "At present, it must fully respect the rights of protesters in Yerevan. The information on the use of water cannons and detention of hundreds of demonstrators causes serious concern."
"All statements of excessive use of force or unfounded or general arrests must be impartially, thoroughly and rapidly examined to bring the perpetrators to justice," Link said.
On June 23, the Armenian police broke up a rally in the center of the country's capital. The rally was held in protest against the increased electricity tariffs. The protests in the streets resulted in use of water cannons against people. Over 230 people got arrested as a result of violent crackdown, including journalists of Gala TV, the Radio Liberty's Armenian office, the Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper, the Hetq, News.am, Panarmenian.net news agencies.
On June 17, Armenia's Public Services Regulatory Commission, considering a request from the distribution company, Electric Networks of Armenia, which is a subsidiary of the Inter RAO UES, raised the electricity tariffs by 6.93 Armenian drams (about $0.015). This caused discontent among the population that believes the rise in the cost of electricity will lead to higher prices for essential goods and many services.