17 Apr 2018 Lvl. 2
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Alert created on: 30 Jul 2016 n° 84/2016 Armenia

Armenian Journalists Injured in Police Violence against Media Journalists covering Street Demonstrations

Source of threatState
CategoryAttacks on physical safety and integrity of journalists
Partner AEJ Article 19 EFJ/IFJ Index
Partner AEJ Article 19 EFJ/IFJ Index
On the evening of Friday 29 July, at least ten journalists suffered burns, bruises or other injuries after being hit by police stun grenades or beaten in Yerevan while covering a demonstration by supporters of an armed group which stormed and occupied a police station in the Erebuni district two weeks ago. One policeman was reported killed and others injured during the seizure of the police facility. The media workers injured in the latest clashes include three journalists of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Armenian service, and journalists or camera operators of CivilNet and A1+ TV, according to local media reports. The director of RFE/RL’s Armenian broadcasting service claimed that unidentified plainclothes police officers targeted and attacked the station’s three journalists with batons, smashed their equipment and tore off their press badges, forcing them to abandon a live broadcast from the spot. A journalist and cameraman of A1+ alleged that they were forcibly removed from their company vehicles, beaten, and also had their press badges violently torn off. The armed occupiers of the police station, who have identified themselves as belonging to the anti-government Sasna Tsrer group, earlier held negotiations with government representatives and released a number of hostages. They had reportedly also been permitted some days ago to speak with a group of journalists about their political demands. An Armenian police spokesman was reported as saying that prompt investigations would be conducted into the reports of violence against journalists. The media concerned expect those investigations to include a number of suspected plainclothes police who used excessive force against them. The latest assaults against media workers follow several previous cases of beatings, harassment, destruction of recording equipment and obstruction against journalists in the same part of Yerevan since 18 July , as journalists have reported on the on-going standoff as well as public demonstrations in the vicinity of the occupied police station.
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