Protesters march in Glendale against Sargsyan regime and call for release of political prisoners in Armenia
About 1,000 people marched from City Hall to the Armenian embassy on Central Avenue Sunday and rallied for the release of political prisoners in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, who’ve been arrested for challenging the regime.
Carrying signs criticizing Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and demanding that he step down for suppressing citizens, the peaceful protestors gathered to create awareness about those who have been jailed in Armenia for doing just the same as local protestors did on Sunday, organizers said.
“People just go on the street, and they get arrested,” said Albert Rostomyan, a volunteer with Armenian Renaissance, one of the groups involved in the rally. “Next thing you know, they’re in jail. If the jails are filled, they put people in stadiums and gymnasiums, and they have no food or water for 10 hours.”
Hundreds have been jailed, so far, as they stood up and accused Sargsyan’s tenure as corrupt and the election process as rigged, he said.
“We’re giving a voice to the voiceless, to the people in Armenia because they can’t have a protest. They just get arrested,” Rostomyan said.
He said he’s also critical of what he calls a police state in Armenia, where the police force tops more than 30,000.
Glendale city officials have also stepped up and sided with local protestors in sympathizing with their counterparts in Armenia.
In a statement, the city advocated for freedom of speech and assembly.
“The city of Glendale advocates for those freedoms which we enjoy here in our own country and are foundational to human rights and democracy across the globe,” according to the statement. “We hope that these unfortunate internal challenges faced by the Armenian people are resolved in a peaceful manner. We do not condone any acts of violence.”