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YEREVAN. – Sevak Hakobyan, Chief Editor of Yerevan.Today, presented details on Tuesday’s incident at the courtyard of capital city Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction.

“On May 14, there was a protest action at the courtyard of the Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction,” he noted. “Minors, holding “Life [imprisonment],” “Rob [i.e., Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan], killer,” “With courage” and other banners in their hands, also were participating in it. A group of other demonstrators, who—judging by their height, mustache and beard—were grown-ups, were standing alongside them. The Yerevan.Today film crew approached the children to find out why they had come, who had brought [them], who had given those banners to them. The children noted that they were not with their parents. Adults approached our film crew and obstructed their work. They insulting our website, accusing the journalist of interviewing a minor without the presence, permission of the parent. It reached to the point that the demonstrators fell into hysterical fits. No clash broke out thanks to police intervention. But it’s noteworthy that the same policemen were calmly overseeing the children’s degeneration by those adults, and they were not making any intervention. 

“It turns out that a minor can be included in hate speech, can be given anti-propaganda banners and be included in propaganda, whereas the journalist who is trying to find out and prevent all that can be accused, insulted, and obstructed the work of. We consider it important to note that detection and prevention of crime against children is the work of law enforcement, first and foremost. But if they are in the role of an observer, then the journalist—in this case, our journalist—has to do it.

“And in the evening, some people called Yerevan.Today’s cameraman from a blocked phone number, introduced [themselves] as officers from the Masis department of the police, and invited [him] to have a conversation.

“We invite the attention of RA Police Chief Valeri Osipyan, Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan, organizations engaged in the protection of minors’ rights and journalists’ interests.

“We are reporting a committed crime: involving children in hate speech, obstructing journalists’ work and getting an account from them.

“Police must find out who included the children into their so-called fight, who were sowing intolerance and hatred and for what purpose, who obstructed our correspondents’ work, who called our cameraman and attempted to get an account. We urge the advocates of the journalists’ interests to give an assessment on what has happened, especially since the adult demonstrators were openly and publicly promoting hatred towards Yerevan.Today: The incident took place in the presence of numerous people and police officers; it was recorded with numerous video recording devices.”

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