Baku, Azerbaijan, June 26
The co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Armenia Axel Fischer and Alan Meale have expressed concern over the excessive use of force and purposeful attacks on journalists by the police when dispersing the protest action June 23, Armenia Today reported.
Impartial and transparent investigation should be ensured on this issue, according to the PACE co-rapporteurs.
The right to demonstrate peacefully must prevail, they stressed.
Furthermore, the co-rapporteurs urged the police and the protestors to show maximum restraint in order to ensure that peaceful protests can take place unhindered, without them degrading into violence as happened June 23 in the morning.
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.
Edited by SI