Female opposition faction member assaulted by men in a brawl at Yerevan Mayor's Office
A session held by the Council of Elders at the Yerevan Mayor’s Office escalated into a brawl between the members of the Yerkir Tsiran opposition faction and the ruling Republican Party.
The incident occurred after members of the Yerkir Tsiran faction tried to conduct, as they put it, an impromptu campaign during the session. Incidentally, the campaign was organized by female members of the opposition faction.
The opposition intended to familiarize the municipal authorities with the present-day situation of Nubarashen, one of Yerevan’s districts where the population is facing sewage problems. Sewer water has been leaking from pipes for some time, filling locals’ houses with a terrible stench.
A few days ago the residents of Nubarashen conducted a protest rally, demanding that the municipal authorities solve the problem. To draw the public’s attention, Yerkir Tsiran faction members brought containers with wastewater samples from Nubarashen to the session at the Mayor’s Office and wore masks to demonstrate how unpleasant the smell was. One of the female opposition figures tried to approach the mayor, Taron Margaryan, so that he could experience what the Nubarashen population were inhaling.
However, members from the ruling wing didn’t let her approach the mayor. The men grabbed the woman and dragged her by her hair outside the session hall. She was punched with fists and verbally assaulted. Other female members of the Yerkir Tsirani party who wanted to stand up for their colleague were treated in a similar way.
The female members of the ruling party later tried to justify their teammates’ conduct, claiming there was hydrogen sulfide instead of wastewater in the containers, and that their colleagues prevented ‘an assault’ on Taron Margaryan.
“It wasn’t wastewater but rather H2S [hydrogen sulfide]. If that had been sewer water, we wouldn’t have had those breathing problems [after being exposed]. Some of our colleagues started to experience arrhythmia. A member of the Elderly Council was taken to the intensive care unit because of sudden heart problems. In other words, it was a terrorist attack against Yerevan residents, committed using a substance that is hazardous for human life and health,” said Asmik Sargsyan, a member of the Republican Party.
However, the Yerkir Tsirani party members still insist that there was wastewater from Nubarashen in the containers.
“You should be accompanied not only by an expensive perfume fragrance, but also by the stench into which you plunged our country. This stench will now follow you wherever you go, and even costly perfume and brandy are unlikely to help you. You just inhaled that smell for a second and a stir immediately began [it immediately affected you], you attacked our member of the Council of Elders.
“You were afraid you were going to suffocate, didn’t you? Let me tell you that people don’t suffocate from a bad smell, but I wish you got poisoned. The Nubarashen sewers are the right place for you,” said Zaruhi Postanjyan, a leader of the opposition faction.
Shortly after the brawl, the police arrived to inquire on the details of the incident. Both sides were interviewed.
Gor Vardanyan, an advisor to the Yerevan Mayor who is shown on the video taking the woman out of the session hall, said that violence wasn’t the case. In his words, the Council members felt nausea because of the unpleasant smell. He ‘asked Marina Khachatryan to lead him out of the session hall’. The rights of journalists covering the session were also violated during the incident. They were requested to leave the premises when the incident occurred. The staff of the Mayor’s Office PR department, as well as the Mayors’ assistants, hampered journalists’ work.