Against Emo “perversion”: Police veterans’ union youths take on “suicide-provoking” teenagers

Against Emo “perversion”: Police veterans’ union youths take on “suicide-provoking” teenagers


Representatives of an organization acting as the youth wing of the Union of OMON (Police Task-Force) Veterans staged a peaceful march in Yerevan on Thursday to express their anger at representatives of the so-called Emo movement who, they believe, provoke schoolchildren to commit suicide and engage in “perversions”.

Members of the organization that officially embraces some 500 young people suppose that emos are responsible for some of the grave statistics of the police on suicides and attempted suicides among minors in Armenia. Police, however, stop short of making any formal accusations against the obscure movement.

Speaking at a press conference late last month deputy head of the third Criminal Investigations Department of Police, police Col. Nelli Duryan said 13 minors committed and 25 attempted suicide thus far in 2010, whereas last year the total number of suicides and suicide attempts was 23. The police official, however, advised against directly connecting the growth of suicide cases with the Emo movement.

The debate in Armenia about emos (people wearing black and pink colors, tight jeans, and preferring a so-called emo-style of rock music) and the purported threat they pose to society intensified last month after a group of young boys and girls spoke of their experience with police who detained them allegedly on suspicion of belonging to the movement. Seven girls, who denied they were Emos, said on November 18 police kept them for four hours, asking questions about their “appearances and clothes typical of Emos” and body piercing.

Police, meanwhile, said they’d detained the young people because they’d been behaving badly and at least one of them was in possession of a knife.

“They speak about the death of only one minor during the last year, but in reality we think that the number of such kids is higher if we take a closer look at it,” said Hayarpi Alaverdyan, the leader of the OMON Veterans Union’s youth wing.

The young protesters also acknowledged that police workers have little knowledge about what an Emo means and who they are, and, therefore, should be “careful and understand who fits these Emo standards and should be attentive to how schoolchildren behave.”

“Since all of us are future parents, we do not want our children to face such a threat,” says Alaverdyan.

The march was organized from 2 Moskovyan Street, via Abovyan Street, till Republic Square and its motto was “Let’s Struggle Together Against Foreign-Influenced Perversion”.

Scores of young people aged 16-20 participated in the march, but many of them admitted they had not any, or had very little, contact with Emos. They said they had simply heard that sharp and cutting objects, such as razors, were often found in textbooks of some at schools and that Emos gather in the tunnel in downtown Yerevan leading to the Children’s Railway, near Cascade and “indulge in different perversions”.

Narek Grigoryan, 16, said for a majority of Emos such behavior is solely a form of self-assertion.

“I personally talked to these young people and understood that they just pretend to be doing what they’re doing. Simply there is a danger that they may also join the ranks of those indulging in perversions and other such dangerous steps,” he said.