Lemkin Institute ‘disturbed’ by violent dispersal of protesters, journalists in Yerevan

The Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention said in a statement that it was “disturbed” by the violent dispersal of protesters and journalists in Yerevan on June 12. The full statement is provided below.

“On June 12th, during the ongoing anti-government protests in Yerevan, police used brute force, including the deployment of dozens of smoke and stun grenades aimed directly at people in the crowd, injuring almost a hundred people, including journalists from a number of news services. Law enforcement claims that police suffered minor injuries.

Alarmingly, the authorities, along with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, have defended these police actions.

As we have stated numerous times over, freedom of speech and assembly are fundamental human rights and core principles of inclusive and equitable societies. They are also critical tools for genocide prevention, as these rights empower individuals and communities to speak out against injustices and demand accountability from their governments. By ensuring that people can voice their concerns and mobilize collectively, societies are better equipped to address and mitigate factors contributing to genocidal processes.

Thus, the Lemkin Institute is disturbed by the aggressive dispersal tactics used against protesters and journalists in Yerevan on June 12, which contradict Armenia’s proclaimed commitment to peace, democratic principles, and human rights. This commitment should mean safeguarding the right to peaceful assembly and free speech, not suppressing dissent through violence and bloodshed.”

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