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Armenian News - NEWS.am presents the digest of top news of protests in Yerevan as of 18.05.22:

  • Gross violations of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly have been registered in Armenia during anti-government demonstrations.

According to reports from various local and international organizations, the police are using brutal force against peaceful demonstrators, including minors. A total of 264 people were apprehended in today’s protests.

During a peaceful protest in the subway, underaged were apprehended, who later said some police officers voiced insults in their address and beat them in the police station.

A demonstrator also suffered a heavy eye injury caused by the police.

The opposition accuses Pashinyan of wishing to cede Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan.

In the meantime, the Armenian investigative committee has arrested Garik Galeyan, the father of Armenian soldier killed in the 44-day war in Artsakh.

Galeyan was arrested early on Wednesday morning for “breaking into a military unit, gravely insulting and hurting” an army officer. His brother was arrested too. Garik Galeyan is one of the parents of those killed in the war, who think that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is to blame for the death of their children and demand that he should be arrested and prosecuted.

The Lithuanian president will arrive in Armenia on a two-day official visit tomorrow.

Azerbaijani authorities intend to inhabit the occupied Armenian city of Shushi.

The special representative of the Azerbaijani President in Shushi Aydin Kerimov noted that a new general plan of Shushi was prepared and up to 25 thousand people are to be settled in the city. For this purpose they are plannin to construct 24 buildings.

Since it's obvious that it won't be possible to settle 25 thousand people in 24 buildings, the matter is about settling Azerbaijanis in the houses left by Armenians.

NATO ambassadors met Wednesday to begin membership talks on the same day that Finland and Sweden submitted their applications, but Ankara's opposition prevented talks from starting.

The postponement raises doubts that NATO will be able to approve the first phase of Finland and Sweden's applications within a week or two, as Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has noted.

All 30 existing NATO members must ratify the applications from Finland and Sweden, but the process only begins after the defense alliance issues an accession protocol and formally invites the two countries to join.

Speaking in the Parliament on Wednesday, Turkish President Erdogan lashed out at Western allies for failing to respect Ankara's "sensitivity" to terrorism and accused new NATO candidates of refusing to extradite 30 people accused of terrorism in his country.

  • Russia on Wednesday announced the expulsion of 85 French, Spanish and Italian diplomats in retaliation for moves by France to expel 41 Russians in April.

Thirty four employees of French diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared persona non grata, Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding they had two weeks to leave the country. 

Meanwhile, ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Russian media that 24 Italian diplomats had also been expelled. Paris “condemned" Wednesday's move by Moscow, which comes as fighting continues in eastern Ukraine and the first Russian soldier is being tried for war crimes. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi dubbed it an “hostile act,” saying it must not harm its "diplomatic channels" to Moscow.

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