Sunday, 31 July 2016


RFE/RL Report
Armenian Parliament Refuses To Debate Hostage Crisis
July 28, 2016
Tatevik Lazarian

The pro-government majority in Armenia's parliament thwarted on
Thursday opposition lawmakers' attempts to force an emergency 

session on the continuing standoff between security forces and 
gunmen occupying a police station.

Only 19 members of the 131-seat National Assembly, virtually all of
them opposition deputies, formally demanded such a debate.

The parliament would have had to convene if at least 44 deputies
signed a corresponding petition circulated by Nikol Pashinian, the
leader of the opposition Civil Contract party.

Pashinian demanded the session on Wednesday amid continuing 
protests staged by supporters of the gunmen. The latter seized the 
police station in Yerevan on July 17 to demand the release of 
Zhirayr Sefilian, the arrested leader of their Founding Parliament 
radical opposition movement, and regime change.

Explaining his initiative, Pashinian dismissed arguments that the
parliament is now in recess. "Let them interrupt their holidays and
get back to work," he said of his pro-government colleagues.

"Political forces must now step in," said another opposition lawmaker,
Stepan Markarian. "An intervention by the National Assembly is one of
the best ways of doing that."

Markarian is affiliated with former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian's
Consolidation party. Other lawmakers backing Pashinian's initiative
represent the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK),
Zharangutyun and Orinats Yerkir parties.

None of the deputies from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK)
and its junior coalition partner, the Armenian Revolutionary
Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), could be reached for comment on Thursday.

The pro-government legislators have kept an unusually low profile ever
since the 30 or so gunmen stormed the police compound in Yerevan's
Erebuni district and took hostages there. For his part, President
Serzh Sarkisian has only once publicly commented on the hostage
crisis, demanding that the gunmen lay down their arms.

Incidentally, Sarkisian was expected to chair on Thursday evening a
meeting of the HHK's governing body. Some news reports said the
standoff with the gunmen will be on the meeting's agenda. 
Lawyer: Health condition of wounded Pavel Manukyan deteriorates, 
as he refuses food and medicines
by Tatevik Shahunyan
Friday, July 29, 16:32
The health condition of Pavel Manukyan, a member of the armed group "Daredevils of Sasoun" who was wounded on July 27 during a skirmish with the Police in the area of the seized police regiment, remains heavy and deteriorates as he refuses medicines and food.

Manukyan's lawyer Inessa Petrosyan told ArmInfo's correspondent he rejects the charges brought against him saying he acted for patriotic purposes and is ready to continue his fight for the people.

The measure of restraint against Pavel Manukyan has not been chosen yet, as he expressed desire to attend the court as soon as he is able. Unlike other wounded members of the group, who were transferred to the hospital for prisoners, Manukyan is in the medical center Erebuni.

Pavel Manukyan's son Aram who was also wounded during the skirmish with the Police on July 27 was transferred to the hospital for prisoners as he was arrested for two months.
Lawyer Inessa Petrosyan's says the room of Aram Manukyan is extremely poor and dirty and he may even get blood infection there. The lawyer said he does not receive the necessary care. Therefore, the lawyer said, she has applied to the competent agencies for Aram Manukyan's transfer to the regular hospital. 
Riot Police Assault on Protesters In Yerevan, Many Injured
July 29, 2016

YEREVAN — Riot police clashed late on Friday with hundreds of people
near a police compound in Yerevan occupied by gunmen affiliated with
an Armenian opposition group.

The violence unfolded amid the sound of gunshots and explosions coming
from the compound located in the city’s southern Erebuni district. It
was not immediately clear whether security forces were conducting a
large-scale operation there.

Most of the protesters sympathetic to the gunmen unexpectedly tried to
approach the building from the nearby Sari Tagh neighborhood. Using
tear gas and stun grenades, the police charged towards them after the
protest leaders ignored senior law-enforcement officers’ orders to
walk back to the city center.

The chief of Yerevan’s police department, Ashot Karapetian, said that
the rally is illegal and that gunshots fired around the compound are
too dangerous for its participants.

Some protesters as well as three RFE/RL journalists — Karlen Aslanian,
Hovannes Movsisian and Garik Harutiunian — were attacked and beaten up
by a large group of plainclothes men as they retreated towards
downtown Yerevan. The men, who appeared to be police officers, were
clearly aware that they are assaulting reporters.

“Are you filming?” one of them said before punching Movsisian,
smashing his camera and tearing off his ID badge.

“I told them that I stopped filming but they kept hitting me,”
Movsisian said by phone as he ran for safety and took cover in a local
shop shortly before midnight.

“They are chasing us and trying to arrest everyone in sight,” he said,
adding that he witnessed dozens of protesters injured and detained at
the scene.

The two other RFE/RL reporters were also injured before fleeing to
safety through another Sari Tagh street.

Earlier on Friday Armenian security forces shot and wounded three more
gunmen in the continuing standoff with the gunmen barricaded inside
the police compound.

The Armenian police spokesman, Ashot Aharonian, said they “returned
fire” after the gunmen again started firing gunshots in defiance of
warnings issued by law-enforcement authorities. “One of the shooters,
Arayik Khandoyan, was wounded,” he said.

Aharonian said the gunfire continued after Khandoyan’s was struck by a
bullet. “Two more shooters were wounded by retaliatory fire from
law-enforcers,” he wrote on Facebook later in the evening. “They are
receiving adequate medical assistance.”

Aharonian said the gunmen, Artur Melkonian and Armen Lambarian, were
taken to the nearby Erebuni hospital afterwards.

Around the same time, an RFE/RL correspondent witnessed the
hospitalization of two men outside the hospital entrance guarded by
masked and armed security officers. She reported that one of them was
Lambarian but could not recognize the other man.

Varuzhan Avetisian, the gunmen’s leader, blamed the police and the
National Security Service (NSS) for Khandoyan’s shooting when he spoke
to RFE/RL’s Armenian service ( before the two other
gunmen were reportedly wounded.

“We contacted an NSS representative and he said, ‘You are shooting and
that is why were are returning fire,’”Avetisian said by phone.

“But we are not shooting at them,” he said. “We are shooting inside
our territory for our safety. We are shooting at an [unmanned aerial]
device to make sure that it doesn’t drop bombs and harm us.”

Avetisian said that Khandoyan was wounded in the leg and immediately
treated by three medics that were taken hostage by the gunmen on
Wednesday.They claimed that the ambulance crew are not hostages. But
he admitted that they are being held in the seized compound against
their will.

“The presence of doctors here is a matter of life or death for us,”
said Avetisian. “We are not holding the doctors hostage, we just need
medical aid.”

“If there are no doctors here they will shoot us one by one,” he said.

Avetisian insisted on Friday that the three medics will be allowed to
leave the compound only if they are replaced by another ambulance

Taguhi Stepanian, the chief of Yerevan’s public ambulance service,
rejected that condition. “They deceived us when they held our doctors
[on Wednesday,]” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (
“They had told us that they have two seriously wounded persons and
that they want the doctors to transport them to hospital.”

“Then they told the doctors, ‘You won’t get out of here until our
demands are met,” said Stepanyan. 

Global News, Canada
July 29 2016
Armenian officers wound gunmen, clash with protesters at 
week-long hostage situation
By Avet Demourian The Associated Press

YEREVAN– Security forces on Friday wounded three more of the
armed members of an opposition group who have been barricaded inside a
police station in the Armenian capital for nearly two weeks, and riot
police later used stun grenades to break up a demonstration in support
of the opposition gunmen.

The three gunmen were wounded in an exchange of gunfire with security
forces, police spokesman Ashot Agaronyan said on Facebook.

Story continues below

A high-ranking police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity
because he was not authorized to release information, said the gunmen
were hit in the legs by snipers after emerging from the station.

A group of about 30 gunmen seized the police post in Yerevan on July
17, killing one officer and wounding several others in the attack, to
demand freedom for an opposition figure arrested in June.

Besides the three gunmen wounded Friday, five others were wounded in
previous exchanges of fire with police. Six were hospitalized and two
remained inside the police station, where they were receiving
treatment from three members of an ambulance crew who were being held

The standoff has set off a series of anti-government demonstrations,
held nearly daily in the evening.

More than 4,000 protesters gathered in a central square on Friday
evening and several hundred of them later set off for the area around
the besieged police station.

Riot police set off stun grenades to disperse the protesters and
clashes broke out.

Scuffles broke out between demonstrators and riot police on
the streets of the Armenian capital early on Saturday, as the standoff
continued after a group of 29 gunmen seized a police post in Yerevan
on July 17. The gunmen are demanding freedom for a jailed opposition
figure. More than 4,000 protesters had gathered in a central square on
Friday evening. 
Ombudsman demands immediate criminal case to be initiated 
against police officers
July 30,2016 | Official 

Statement by the HRD Office

The Ombudsman has demanded an immediate criminal case to be initiated against police officers regarding injuring citizens during the events in Sari Tagh on July 29.

A demand has been presented to immediately suspend the police officers who are suspected in those actions until the clarification of all circumstances of the case, regardless whether or not the officers were in uniform or not.
Editors condemn targeted attacks on journalists

“I strongly condemn the actions of the policemen and non-uniformed people, who left the impression of gang members carrying out inadequate and incorrect actions against protestors, especially the journalists,” Aram Abrahamyan, Chief Editor of Aravot daily said during a press conference commenting on the events at Sari Tagh neighbourhood.

“They targeted the journalists and attacked them to interrupt live broadcasts and destroy photos, videos and recordings, so that their actions would not to be recorded. However, as it was also proved during the Electric Yerevan that’s impossible,” he added.

According to Abrahamyan, whatever happened was revenge against the public and the journalists, which is strongly condemnable.

Concerning the issue of how the news are being edited in this critical moments, Mesrop Movsesyan, the director of A1+ news agency, who was also present during the press conference noted that the editor and the journalist discuss what should be broadcasted. “Yet when they’re trying to close your mouth, cut off your tongue, break your hands and the camera, it becomes difficult to think about how to edit [the information]”.

Speaking about whether the journalists are protected when carrying out their professional duties and whether they can leave the scene when their safety is endangered, he noted that professional journalists never leave. “I’ve visited our reporter, Robert Ananyan at the hospital. While having numerous injuries, he wasn’t scared. He worked about an hour while bleeding”.

IT security expert, Samvel Martirosyan also condemned the attacks highlighting that applying such means in an inhabited area is incomprehensible.

“Attacking journalists is a serious case. After the events at Baghramyan, the journalists’ community wasn’t consistent enough in order for the real culprits to be punished. So now we see the results. The journalists’ community shouldn’t just express their joint opinion, rather they need to resort to certain actions”.

Speaking about blocking the news, he said that pursuing journalists the issue wouldn’t be solved, as anyone with a cell phone is a potential journalist. “We have thousands of journalists today who provide information from the scene. It’s just that many of them aren’t professional”.

They also noted that in response, journalists could refuse to cover certain areas.
Relatives Not Allowed to Visit Hospitalized Protesters; 
Law Enforcement Officers Given Free Passage to ICU

Family members of the dozens of protesters who were admitted to Yerevan’s Surb Grigor Lusavorich hospital with police-inflicted injuries last night have been barred from visiting their relatives at the hospital’s intensive care unit; meanwhile, investigators and law enforcement officers are free to come and go as they please, as witnessed by an correspondent today.

“Last night they wouldn’t let us leave, now they won’t let us in,” a middle-aged woman complained to our reporter, adding that she had nothing to do with “your events” and only wanted to enter the unit to take care of her father.

As many as 50 people were rushed here late on Friday with severe burns, broken bones and damaged eyes after Armenia’s riot police used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse a crowd of supporters of a radical armed group occupying a Yerevan police station for nearly two weeks. A total of 60 protesters were taken to 5 hospitals in the city; more than a hundred people were detained.

In response to our correspondent’s question as to why representatives of law enforcement agencies were allowed to enter the intensive care unit without even having to wear a protective gown or some other covering, the deputy director of the hospital, MD Gagik Manukyan insisted that they were “on duty.”

“[They are here] to enforce law and order. I’m a doctor; I’m not going to fight anyone and tell them to let us do our job,” Manukyan said.

As investigators were questioning the patients, our reporter tried to find out from them whether the injured were being questioned as victims or as witnesses. They, however, refused to answer, saying that “we are only an investigative group; you should contact the Investigative Committee.”

The Committee did subsequently issue a statement to report that 23 people, among them opposition politicians with the Heritage party Andrias Khukasyan and Armen Martirosyan, were arrested as part of an investigation under parts 1 and 2 of Article 225 of Armenia’s Criminal Code (“organization of mass disorder, accompanied with violence, pogroms, arson, destruction or damage to property, using fire-arms, explosives or explosive devices, or by armed resistance to the representative of the authorities.”)

In addition to questioning the injured, investigators were also collecting the protesters' clothes “as material evidence.” Anahit Piloyan, a 28-year-old protester with burns on her legs and arms, however, refused to give away her clothes.

“That’s because she does not trust the investigators,” her father, Samvel Piloyan, told us. He added that he had come to take his daughter home but law enforcement officers were not allowing him to. 
Political forces of Armenia keep condemning last night's events, 
while Republican Party still silent
by Tatevik Shahunyan
Saturday, July 30, 21:01 

ARF Dashnaktsutyun Party strongly condemns the events in Yerevan on the night of July 29-30 that results in wounding and injuries of many activists, journalists and police officers.

The Party urges prosecution of all guilty and prevention of more violence. ARFD that is a political ally of the ruling Republican Party, says that the situation in Armenia needs drastic reform, as public is discontented at it.

At the same time, ARFD urges "Daredevils of Sasoun" that seized the police compound in Yerevan demanding resignation of the president to refuse from their unrealistic demands and refrain from radical steps. The Party urges the authorities to refrain from using force against the armed group. Unity Party of the former foreign minister of Armenia Vartan Oskanian also condemned the events of the July 29-30 night and urged the political forces, influential figures in Diaspora to unite to find a way out of the standoff. Oskanian's Party blames the authorities of Armenia for the current situation and for impoverishment of the population.

Armenian Renaissance Party led by Artur Baghdasaryan condemned the unlawful actions of the police against demonstrators. The party urged drastic reforms in the country and establishment of a special political platform to find a way out of the situation. Party is sure that the ongoing events will damage Armenia's image in the world, and urges the police to punish those guilty in yesterday's events and release prisoners. Earlier, more parties, including Prosperous Armenia, Alliance, Heritage, Free Democratic and others made condemning statements.

The Parliamentary parties of Artsakh also condemned the situation, while the ruling Republican Party keeps silent.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Grave Realities...

CivilNet TV
Diaspora Afraid to Acknowledge Grave Realities in Armenia
Published on Jul 27, 2016

"Things are happening in Armenia, and I hope that it will not go 

the Syrian way"

The Genocide and Karabakh remain on the forefront of the 
diaspora's Armenian interests, but when it comes to understanding 
State vs people internal realities, the diaspora lacks fundamental 
information and hesitates to interfere - Arsinne Khanjian’s call 
to the Armenian diaspora.

This interview may confirm your prejudices or challenge you to 
think again. Just over twenty minutes but well worth your attention 
and thoughtfulness at least, right to the end of the interview.
Live: People gather at Liberty Square for rally (video)
July 27,2016 

21.49 People gathered at Liberty Square are now discussing three proposals made by the rally participants: to gather for a rally on Thursday, hold a march today and start a sit-in protest. Albert Baghdasaryan, a member of the coordination committee reminded of strict police surveillance.

21.06 Several hundreds of people gathered a Liberty Square after the Founding Parliament announced that they were changing the venue of the rally and meeting at Liberty Square instead of Khorenatsi Street.

Albert Baghdasaryan, a member of the coordination committee, informed the participants that the police had taken away all their technique.

In the meanwhile, red hats continue detentions in Khorenatsi street.
July 27 2016
Armenia: Yerevan Gunmen Grab More Hostages at Police Station
July 27, 2016
by Giorgi Lomsadze

New hostages were taken in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, on July 27 as
an armed standoff between police and gunmen entered its tenth day.
Despite the surrender of two of the gunmen, with street support for
the group’s defiance of the government persisting, the crisis shows no
sign of ending soon.

Officials said that the anti-government militants holed up in the
city’s Erebuni police station seized four medical personnel dispatched
by the health ministry this morning to treat gunmen wounded by an
exchange of gunfire with police late last night.

A representative of the fringe opposition political group to which the
gunmen belong, Founding Parliament, categorically denied that the men,
mostly Karabakh war veterans, have taken any more hostages.

“The guys aren’t holding anyone as a hostage. They only want the
medical presence there to be continuous and . . . for another brigade
of doctors to rotate with this brigade,” Founding Parliament member
Alek Enigomshian told reporters, RFE/RL’s Armenian service reported.

One policeman and two insurgents -- the gunmen’s most prominent
leader, Pavlik Manukian, and his son, Aram -- suffered serious
injuries in the overnight shootout and were hospitalized.

The surrender of another two members of the armed group early this
morning created a prospect for resolution of the nerve-wracking drama,
but the fresh hostage-taking situation brought the drama back to
square one.

Twelve participants in a late-night, pro-gunmen rally broken up by
police on July 26 have been charged with rioting.

Police have scuffled with protesters several times since the takeover
of the building, and have arrested scores of people, including some,
witnesses say, who were just passers-by.

The armed men, who include decorated war veterans, captured the
station on July 17, killing one policeman and taking several others
hostage. They demanded the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan, a
fellow veteran of the Karabakh conflict, as well as the release of
Founding Parliament’s leader, government-critic Jirair Sefilian, from
jail. The gunmen eventually released these initial hostages, but the
standoff dragged on.

The government has disavowed the use of force in resolving the crisis,
but, conceivably, as much out of self-interest as any distaste for
violence -- as their response to periodic anti-government protests
held near the police station suggests.

The group’s attractions for most protesters appear to be related to a
widespread thirst for change and a belief that the Armenian government
only understands the language of force.

Others scoff at this justification. Yerevan’s latest mass protests to
date against unpopular government policies, the Electric Yerevan
movement, did not involve firearms, they note.

While public empathy for the plight of the gunmen’s police hostages
was not overwhelming, the men taking medics hostage drew

"Even during the war [with Azerbaijan] we did not have doctors as
prisoners," said Yerevan Clinic Director Dr. Taron Tonoian, also a war
veteran, reported.
Pavel Manukyan still connected to artificial ventilation apparatus
July 27,2016 | Politics 

Aram Manukyan, one of the members of the Sasna Dzrer armed 
group who was wounded in the overnight shootout with police 
officers, has been disconnected from a life-support device. 

“The apparatus was turned off about an hour ago. Though he has 
clear consciousness and we observe positive changes, he remains 
in a critical condition,” Harutyun Mangoyan, Head of the Department 
of Rehabilitation and Therapy of the Erebuni medical centre told 

Aram’s father, Pavlik Manukyan is still on artificial ventilation. 
“The apparatus helps him breathe normally. He is gradually coming 
to himself. In the morning we even talked to him, but I think the 
treatment will last a bit longer,” he said.

He added that the lives of all individuals remaining in intensive care 
units are in danger.

Two members of the Sasna Dzrer armed group, Pavel Manukyan 
and his son, and one policeman were taken to hospital following 
the late night firefight on Khorenatsi street.
News About Yerevan Gunmen Taking Medics Hostage Is 
‘Police Disinformation,’ Oppositionist Claims 

Armenia’s police said on Wednesday that the gunmen who have been occupying a Yerevan police station for ten days have taken an ambulance crew hostage after the latter were sent in to provide medical help to those wounded in an overnight fire exchange with police officers.

Alek Yenigomshyan, a member of anti-government movement Founding Parliament with which the gunmen are affiliated, however, told a news conference later in the day that the law enforcement agency was spreading disinformation and that the armed group were not holding anyone hostage. According to Yenigomshyan, the gunmen are only demanding that there be a round-the-clock medical assistance available to them and they are ready to let the ambulance crew go if the latter are replaced by other medics.

Note, Armenia’s Ambulance Service has been refusing since June 23 to provide medical aid to those barricaded inside the police station, claiming that the medics are scared of the gunmen’s weapons. At the same time, officials say, the medical personnel are willing to treat the “Daredevils of Sasun” at a neutral zone when they are unarmed.

Armenak Kyureghyan, the father of the two of the gunmen – Areg and Sergey Kyureghyan, also condemned the “disinformation” coming from the police, stating that Armenian authorities “have started a propaganda war against their own people.”

“I had a phone conversation with my son in the morning and he told me that police officers opened heavy fire on Pavil Manukyan on Tuesday evening as the latter attempted to negotiate with them about providing the group with a medic or taking the injured gunman to a hospital. Upon seeing that his father was being shot at, Pavlik’s son rushed to his rescue and he too got shot at. Another ‘Daredevils of Sasun’ member was wounded when he tried to help his friends,” Kyureghyan told reporters. He added that, according to his son, the police claim that gunmen Gagik Yeghiazaryan’s and Aram Hakobyan’s surrender to the authorities had been voluntary was also untrue.
Levon Barseghyan’s health deteriorates in Shengavit Police Department
July 27,2016 | Politics 

18.02 An ambulance arrived at the Shengavit Police Department some time ago.

A1+’s journalist reports from the ground that the doctor only said they had responded to a call from the police station while Barseghyan’s lawyer, Haykuhi Harutyunyan said the ambulance was called for Barseghyan whose health deteriorated suddenly.

16.41 Levon Barseghyan, Chairman of the Asparez Journalists’ Club, has been taken from the Gyumri’s Kumayri Police Department to Shengavit Police Department in Yerevan

Talking to A1+ on the phone, Mr Barseghyan said he had been detained at night with some 40 people. He does not know the reasons for his detention.

A1+ was informed from the Ombudsman’s Office that representatives of the Armenian Ombudsman were sent to the Shengavit Police Department where they had a private conversation with Levon Barseghyan and arranged his meeting with a lawyer.

Although the police reported earlier that Levon Barseghyan was set free at 6։30 a.m., his relatives did not have any information about his whereabouts for many hours.

The Moscow Times, Russia
July 27 2016
Armenia Revolts: Forget Social Protest, This Time It’s Serious
Armenians are used to mass demonstrations, but never before 
has the target of protest been the regime itself.
By Grigor Atanesian

That thousands of Yerevan residents should take to the streets, as
they have done every day this past week, is no real surprise. It is,
after all, the fourth summer in a row that mass protests have gripped
the Armenian capital. In 2013, demonstrators protested price hikes for
public transportation. In 2014 it was pension reform. In 2015, what
started as a protest against higher electricity bills became the
so-called “Electric Yerevan” movement that Russian state-controlled
media hyperbolically compared to Ukraine’s Maidan.

But this summer’s protest is different — not so much in form, but in
character. No longer are the demands social and economic; now the
ultimatum is regime change. Yerevan residents are rallying to voice
their support for an armed militant group that seized a police station
in the Erebuni district on July 17. The militants are demanding the
release of all political prisoners and the resignation of Armenian
President Serzh Sargsyan. They call themselves “The Sassoon
Daredevils” after the title of a medieval Armenian epic about the
strongmen of Sassoun — a historic region of Armenia — and their
struggle against Arab invaders.

Among these latter-day Daredevils are two heroes of the Karabakh War
of 1992-1994, Pavlik Manukyan and Araik Khandoyan. Both are renowned
throughout Armenia and the international Armenian diaspora.

Most Daredevils members support The Founding Parliament movement, the
main non-systemic opposition force in the country. One of their first
demands was the release of Jirair Sefilian, leader of The Founding
Parliament, who was arrested in June.

The Daredevils released all their hostages on July 23 on the condition
that a press center be erected in the compound they control. But the
authorities responded in the usual way for a former Soviet republic.
State-controlled television made no mention of the takeover of the
police station for the first two days. Police dispersed supporters
with excessive force. Video cameras captured riot police kicking
demonstrators who had fallen to the ground. Road workers suddenly
decided to lay new asphalt in front of the presidential palace and all
official government spokespeople seemingly disappeared. Only on July
22, five days after the armed conflict began, did a notice appear on
President Sargasyan’s website condemning the militants.

On July 27, it was reported that the militants had once again taken in
hostages, though this information is disputed and difficult to verify.

The National Security Service is calling the takeover a terrorist
attack, but the number of Armenians who disagree with that assessment
is growing daily. Armenian society has a deep aversion to all acts of
violence. The bloody ethnic conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan and
the terrorist attack against the parliament in 1999, when masked
gunmen killed eight deputies, is still fresh in people’s minds.
Paradoxically, however, it is the very rejection of violence that many
Armenians have come round to supporting the Daredevils.

Armenian society is, essentially, too small for corruption and crime
to remain hidden. A consensus has formed that the authorities use
their monopoly on violence for personal gain. People remember how
President Serzh Sargsyan came to power by suppressing mass protests
that followed presidential elections in 2008. They remember how police
used force to disperse the protesters, causing the deaths of eight
demonstrators and one soldier.

The Founding Parliament movement has never advocated the use of force
to achieve a regime change, and the seizure of the police station
seems to be a gesture of despair from some of their veteran members.
For years, Jirair Sefilian and his supporters took to the streets with
placards, recorded video messages, traveled around the country in
caravans and used every possible peaceful means of protest available.
As a result, they were arrested, given hefty prison sentences and
beaten by people in civilian clothes.

Armenia celebrates 25 years of independence in 2016, although it is
difficult to find a single citizen who would characterize the country
as free and independent. According to official statistics, more than
600,000 people emigrated from Armenia during those years;
unofficially, it may have been as many as 1 million. Like Ukraine,
Armenia was slated to sign an Association Agreement creating a
free-trade zone with Europe at the Eastern Partnership Summit in
Vilnius in November 2013, but after a closed meeting with President
Vladimir Putin in Moscow, President Sargsyan announced that he was
rejecting integration with Europe in favor of joining the Eurasian
Economic Union.

Over the past decade, Armenia has handed Russia control over many of
the country’s strategic facilities, including the Armenian Nuclear
Power Plant, Armsberbank (The Armenian State Savings Bank that later
became a branch of Russia’s VTB bank), the Hrazdan Thermal Power
Plant, and many other assets. And yet, over the past five years,
Russia has sold Azerbaijan — Armenia’s main foreign enemy — offensive
weapons worth more than $4 billion. Azerbaijan used those Russian
weapons during a four-day clash with Armenia in April 2016 that
resulted in the deaths of more than 100 Armenian soldiers.

A consensus has formed in Armenian society that corruption and the
authoritarian regime are the main problems facing the country, and
that they are destroying the economy and threatening Armenia’s
sovereignty. The groundswell of support for the Sassoon Daredevils,
taking in everyone from retirees to youth carrying smartphones, is an
indication that the ruling elites are not in for an easy ride.
Nice hero's wife is Armenian

Three heroes who tried to stop a truck in Nice were awarded a medal of the city, Nicematin reported.

Frank, Gvenel and Alexander tried to stop the truck that was plunging into a crowd in high speed.

According to Nouvelles d’Armenie, 49-year-old Frank’s wife is of Armenian origin. He was driving a bike and was trying to open the door of the truck cabin, but fell from the bike.

Frank was immediately arrested by police as they thought he was accomplice of the criminal. Gvenel was running behind the truck and then covered someone during a shootout.

As for Alexander, he managed to cling to the cabin door, but he quickly fell on the ground.

Attached please find Issue 22 of the Armenian Church News of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of Great Britain & Ireland. Information Centre The Primate's Office Armenian Church of Great Britain and Ireland

Volume 2, Issue 22 22 July 2016
Happy Armenian Street Festival 2016!
Armenian Church News
Diocese of the Armenian Church in the United Kingdom and Ireland
On Sunday, 17th July 2016, the sixth annual Armenian Street Festival took place in Iverna Gardens in Kensington, London. This is a major cultural event that unites Armenians across the United Kingdom and Ireland - a celebration of cultural identity, history and faith, as well as vital fundraising for the Church. It is organised under the auspices of the Armenian Church in the UK and Ireland, and is one of the projects of the Armenian Church Trust (ACT UK). There were special guests, including clergy of many denominations, Members of Parliament, and talented musicians from Armenia. Visitors came from Armenia, Russia, Belgium, the USA, as well as from the parish communities in Manchester, Cardiff, Birmingham and Dublin.
From early morning, the whole of Iverna Gardens was fenced off from traffic and representatives of various Armenian organisations were setting up their stalls to promote their activities such as music, theatre and cultural groups, and sell products including art, crafts, publications and food.
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In this issue:
ASF 2016
ASF Committee Stalls at ASF Feedback
Iveta visits Scouts Birmingham Parish

Armenian Saturday Language School
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Diocese of the Armenian Church of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland
His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Primate
Diocesan Office
Tel. 0208 127 8364 primatesoffice@

Armenian Church News
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The day began with the Divine Liturgy being celebrated in St. Sarkis Church by Fr. Garegin Hambartsumyan, Dean of the Theological Academy of Holy Etchmiadzin. Following this, a procession of clergy and the St. Sarkis choir, presided over by Archbishop Nathan Hovhanissian, Head of the External Relations and Protocol Department of Holy Etchmiadzin, exited the Church and began the medieval outdoor service of ‘Andastan’ – the Blessing of the Four Corners of the Earth.
After this special blessing, there was a ribbon- cutting ceremony to officially open the festival. This was conducted by His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, The Worshipful the Mayor of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Councillor Mrs. Elizabeth Rutherford, Stephen Pound MP for Ealing North and Armenian Consulate Hayarpi Drmeyan amongst other dignitaries.
After the official opening, there were welcoming speeches by the special guests, including the Bishop of London, The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Richard Chartres, and Hermia Bell, representing her husband Councillor Julian Bell, the Leader of Ealing Council.
His Grace Bishop Hovakim greeted the crowd with a welcoming speech:
Your Eminence, Your Excellences, Your Graces, dear friends,
It is with great joy that I welcome you all to the 6th Armenian Street Festival. The ASF brings together Armenians and non-Armenians not only to support our Church anditsmission,butto alsoshow our unity and strength.
I started my Primacy ofthe Armenian Church ofthe UK and Ireland oneyear ago and after a hectic but extremely productive year; I recall the words of the psalmist “how beautiful it is when brothers dwell in together." Thisis a
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unique event as the ASF gathers the Armenian community in the United Kingdom and Ireland together to celebrate our culture and shows how cohesive and how united we stand together.
This year we are very happy to be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Independence of Armenia and Artsakh. We also celebrate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. We dedicate this event to the 25th anniversary of the Independence of Armenia. As Armenians we are strong with our beloved homeland and as British citizens we are praying for the longevity of her majesty the Queen.
I am delighted to greet our guests from Armenia: talented singers, musicians and actors and am also thrilled to greet our guests and friends from all around the world including Russia and Belgium who have come to join us on this festive day. I am thankful to all the Armenian organisations and businesses that are here today, supporting us and presenting their fine work.
I am most thankful to our benefactors who support this annual event and without their support this celebration would not be as successful. I am particularly grateful to all donors of ACT UK and all the other members of our community who generously supportthe mission of the Armenian Church throughout the year (NYRAFF and Tanielian family, AGBU, Gulbenkian Charity Trust, the Manoukian, Didizian, Arzoumanov, Kurkjian, Tatevossian, Margossian, Darzi, Sahakian and Torosyan families, Mrs Barsamian and Miss Barsamian, Mr and Mrs Margossyan, Tekeyan Trust and Cultural Association, Jakobs, Dublin Parish, AYA, St Sarkis Parish, Massis Tea, Vahe Gulvanessian, Mr Sahakian, Robert Tateossian.) I would like to thank St. Sarkis Parish Council and the Managing Trust for helping me with
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the logistics and for supporting the ASF.
Most importantly I would like to thank all the local residents (please do join us if you are watching us from your balconies), the local authorities, the Mayor of the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Mrs. Elizabeth Rutherford and the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea itself for allowing this event to happen.
And last but not least of course I would like to thank, on behalf of the whole community,our ASF Head coordinator Dickran Bedrossianand his extremely hard working team for their endless time and dedication they have put in to this project and the whole ASF team. Thank you for your extraordinary hard work and commitment.
This year I wanted to honour our previous Primates who had served in this Diocese. We very sadly lost the Late Archbishop Yeghishe Gizirian. His Eminence would have turned 91 years old 2 days ago had he still been with us. We pray for the loving memory of His Eminence and we will always remember all the great work he achieved in his life for us.
We are delighted to have present here our former Primate His Eminence Archbishop Nathan. Please, greet Serbazan with your warm applause. I had also invited my predecessor, His Grace Bishop Vahan, who is now the Primate of France. He came to join us for the ASF but due to the recent tragedy in Nice, he had to return to France immediately. I would like us all to observe a minute’s silence to respect the memories of the innocent lives lost due to this tragedy.
Thank you very much. May God Bless you all. Enjoy and Welcome to your 6th Armenian Street Festival ...I love you all and we love #ASF!”
During the afternoon, the entertainments programme was led by MCs Nouritza Matossian, Karine Bedrossian and Nazeni Hovhannisyan. Akhtamar Dance Group performed beautifully and encouraged the crowd to join in with Armenian dancing. Inside St. Sarkis Church, there was a recital by Levon Chilingirian who was accompanied also by Astghik Pogosyan (representing the AGBU Summer Internship Programme), and singing by the Komitas Choir.
There was a ‘Kid’s Corner’, where children could enjoy having their faces painted, a balloon artist and many more fun activities.
Outside on the stage, renowned duduk player Gevorg Karapetyan impressed the audience with traditional music. Later in the afternoon, singer Iveta Mukuchyan, Armenia’s entry to Eurovision, enhanced the joyful atmosphere with her upbeat songs. Iveta played a five song set, including a cover of “Sweet Lovin’”, a new Armenian language single and her popular Eurovision 2016 song “LoveWave”.
The evening concluded with a speech by Bishop Hovakim, thanking Dickran Bedrossian, ASF co-ordinator along with the ASF Committee, and Arthur Gourounlian, Creative Director of the ASF, for all their hard work.
Later that evening, Raffi and Alice Tanielian hosted a reception at their home in honour of the musicians and to celebrate the ASF. Representatives from all organisations were invited.
This year’s ASF was dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of Armenian Independence, and to her Majesty the Queen, on the occasion of her 90th birthday.
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A Huge Thank You to the ASF Organising Committee!
The Armenian Street Festival would not have been possible without the tireless dedication of many volunteers.
A huge thank you goes to Dickran Bedrossian, Chairman of the ASF Committee since 2012. Dickran is a husband, father and grandfather. He spent his whole working career in the sports industry. He retired in 2003 and now teaches and enjoys as much tennis as possible. This year’s festival was Dickran’s last as Chairman. We give you our heartfelt thanks for being such a wonderful organiser.
The ASF Committee was composed of the Chairperson: Dickran Bedrossian, Entertainment: Anais Heghoyan, Arthur Gourounlian and Karine Bedrossian, Children's corner: Shiraz Vartanian, VIP's: James Harland and Jeannine Gulvanessian, Finance committee: Tamara Stephan and Koko Sabounjiyan, Food Committee: Sylva Yeghiazarian and Vera Harland, Stalls: Bedros Aslanyan, Raffle: Mimi Heghoyan, Permits and Applications: Hrachik Sarian.
I am also extremely thankful to all of the volunteers: videography by Armine Vosganian, photography Sona Gevorgyan and Vahagn Gulakyan, Armenian media coverage by Naira Hayrapetyan, letter writing by Tatiana der Avedisian, Andre, Primates Office Ladies Committee, Karina Gevorgyan, and my staff members at the Primates Office present and past who have supported me and helped to carry out our mission; MC’s Nouritza Matossian, Karine Bedrossian and Nazeni Hovhannisyan.
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We tha deliciou into ma Sarian, organis with fi go on
nk all the gentlemen who were in charge of the s barbeque, and all the ladies who put so much effort king the food. Many thanks must also go to Hrachik Executive Administrator of the Primate’s Office, who d all the official paperwork, liaised with clients, dealt
ances, contacted dignitaries...all the little details that behind the scenes at a large event such as this!
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Many Diverse Stalls and Organisations Represented at the ASF
We were very happy to welcome all our stallholders, who brought us wonderful products for sale, as well as those promoting their cultural, spiritual and artistic activities. They included the following: AGBU London; AGBU London YP; Ara Petrosyan; Armenian Community Council; Armenian Institute; Armenian Relief Society; Armenian Studies; AYA Football; Birthright Armenia; Catholic Church; Centre for Armenian Information and Advice; Dublin Parish Council; Elina Shahumyan - handmade silver jewellery; Gomidas Institute; Homenetmen; Kevork Tahta Armenian Language School; One Armenia; Primate’s Stall; Raffle; St. Sarkis Parish Council; The Tekeyan Trust; Tombola; Vahe Karimyan; Zaruhi Seropyan Ginvino Ltd & Voskeni Winery. Thank you for your participation and you all contributed to making the festival a great success!
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Some feedback about the ASF...
A few days after the ASF, we were pleased to receive this email at the Primate’s Office:
“Good morning. I am a resident of Iverna Gardens and I’m writing to congratulate you and the team, who put the Festival together this year. It was SO very well organised this year and so much more professional and enjoyable. We all had a fun day and as always, the weather was superb. I think a very good time was had by all. Thank you again and we already look forward to the 2017 Street Festival. Best regards, Jinuss Raznahan.”
We also received this letter:
Dear Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, We would like to congratulate all at the Primate’s Office for organising the 6th Armenian Street Festival in London. The event was very well organized and successful, promoting the Armenian spirit, history and culture and we were proud to be a part of it. The highlights and surprise visits were also greatly welcomed! We thank you for providing this opportunity for our school and our community to unite and celebrate together and wish you all the very best with your future events. Kind regards, Hermineh Cherchian, Chairperson, Governing Committee, For and on behalf of K Tahta Armenian Community Sunday school.”
Hrachik Sarian, Executive Administator at the Primate’s Office, said: “I have been involved with the ASF since the very beginning. It has been a privilege to be involved with such a unique event that happens every year bringing all Armenians and others in one place. It takes months of planning and hard work. All of this achieved with a very dedicated ASF Committee.
Garen Arevian, who held the AGBU stall, commented: "This year's ASF was by far the biggest and busiest, perhaps helped also by our English weather allowing the sun to come through. It was great seeing the majority of UK- Armenian organisations having a presence, showing what a diverse and active community we have in this country. As usual, the delicious food was one of the main attractions, of which there was plenty. Armenia's Eurovision singer Iveta giving a concert was another highlight where I believe she premièred her new single. As someone who was also representing both the Tekeyan Cultural Association and AGBU at our respective stalls, our sales of books and membership requests exceeded those of previous years, showing the sheer turnout of people. A definite thanks to Bishop Hovakim and his ASF organising team for presenting such a professionally organised event."
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Iveta Mukuchkyan Visits London Scouts
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The Scouts of Homenetmen London, the Armenian Scouting and Athletic Association of Great Britain, were treated to a delightful surprise at their regular scouting activities at the Navasartian Centre in Northfields Avenue on Saturday 16th July when they were visited by His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan and the Armenian singer, songwriter, model and actress Iveta Mukuchyan who was in London performing for the Armenian Street Festival on Sunday.
Iveta took the time to meet and speak to the scouts while they were preparing for their annual summer camp and during a round circle session of questions and answers, Iveta provided an insight into her career and showcased her amazing voice byperforming an extract from hersong 'LoveWave'. The scouts were excited for having had this rare and wonderful opportunity to meet the much admired Iveta, especially as all of them had only a few months ago voted for her during the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest. The visit ended with the scouts signing the Miyoutyan Yerk, and of course, with Iveta joining in! (Anthony Vartanian)
Armenian Church News
News from Birmingham Mission Parish
Divine Liturgy to be Celebrated
in Cornwall
On Sunday, 4th September 2016, His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan will be celebrating the Badarak at the home of Mrs. Georgiana Joseph in Cornwall. By her kind invitation, Mrs. Joseph has asked His Grace and any guests who would like to attend, to join with her in this special service at an Armenian shrine which she has at her home. After the service, food and refreshments will be served. If you are interested in participating, please register your interest by contacting the Primate’s Office on 0208 127 8364 or
On 19th July, His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan travelled to Birmingham Mission Parish to visit with the Armenian community and Rt Revd David Urquhart, Bishop of Birmingham. The aim was to strengthen the parish and bilateral relations with local denominations, and discuss with Bishop David the possibility of providing a church for the use of the community.
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Armenian Saturday Language School Celebrates with End of Year Performance
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Upcoming Events
Forthcoming Events in July, August and September 2016
Bible Studies
Every Thursday, at St. Sarkis Church Gulbenkian Hall led by the Primate and the clergy of the Diocese
Next dates: 28th July, 4th Aug
Bible Studies are an important part of the church’s ministry as they provide opportunities for the faithful and those who are interested and curious to have a deeper understanding of Christianity and to ask questions about their faith, beliefs and concerns. During Bible studies we make observations (what do passages in the Bible say?), provide interpretation (what do they mean?) and ask how applicable these passages are to our lives today. Open to everyone.
Deacons Training Programme
Every Saturday evening at St. Sarkis Church starting from 24th July, 2016
Visit to Stratford upon Avon, Home of William Shakespeare
Friday, 12th August
The visit will include visit to Shakespeare’s birthplace, Hall’s Croft, Ann Hathaway’s Cottage. For details, please contact Jeanine Gulvanesian or Karina Gevorgian, e-mails: or
Feast of Assumption of St. Mary (Astvadzazdin) and Blessing of Grapes
Sunday, 14th August
Liturgy at 11:00am St. Yeghiche and St. Sarkis, 11:15 am at Holy Trinity in Manchester
Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy and Life-Giving Cross
Sunday, 11th September
Liturgy at 11:00am St. Yeghiche and St. Sarkis, 11:15 am at Holy Trinity in Manchester
Feast of Holy Translators
Sunday, 9th October
Liturgy at 11:00am St. Yeghiche and St. Sarkis, 11:15 am at Holy Trinity in Manchester
Pilgrimage to Holy Land
January 2017
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Prayer Intentions for July:
We invite the faithful to pray for the volunteers who give their time and energy to help the Communities and Churches in their works and duties
The main objective of the diocesan e- newsletter is to serve and reach out to Armenians throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland. The community members and organisations are welcome to send their announcements for the e- newsletter, including information not only about public events but also about important family events such as christening, matrimony or passing away.
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Worship Services in the Armenian Churches
Services are held in the Armenian Churches in London every Sunday starting at 11:00 am. In Manchester, there is a service on the 1st Sunday of the month. For further details, please contact the parish nearest to you:
Holy Trinity Armenian Church
229 Upper Brook Street Manchester, M13 0FY
Tel: 0161 273 1074 1st SUNDAY OF THE MONTH
St. Sarkis Church
Iverna Gardens Kensington, London, W8 6TP Tel: 020 7937 0152
St. Yeghiche Cathedral
13b Cranley Gardens Kensington, London SW7 3BB Tel: 020 7373 8133
Other Parishes of our Diocese:
Cardiff - Tel: + 44 771 279 2304, +44 2920779248.
Dublin - Tel: +44 2891 863559.
Birmingham – Tel: +44 121 675 1469. St John’s Church, Stratford Road, Birmingham, B11 4EA Oxford - Tel: +44 7810 490242.
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We invite those who have questions or wish to gain deeper understanding of the faith, moral discernment, teachings and traditions of the Armenian Church to contact the Office of the Diocese of the Armenian Church in United Kingdom and Ireland:
The Primate’s Office
c/o The Armenian Vicarage
Iverna Gardens
London, W8 6TP
or email:
Editorial Committee:
His Grace Bishop Hovakim Manukyan, Primate
Garen Arevian
Lena Boghossian
Hovik Hovhannisyan Aznive Simon
Gagik Stepan-Sarkissian Sossi Yerissian