Baghramyan Avenue standoff ends as police agree to remove cordons

Several thousand of opposition protesters were allowed to march through a central Yerevan boulevard where the Presidential Palace is located at the end of what was a day of dueling ‘inaugurations’ in Armenia.

After negotiations with Police Chief Vladimir Gasparyan late on Tuesday opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian told his supporters that the police had agreed to remove the cordons and let the demonstrators proceed through the thoroughfare to end their march in Liberty Square for a “good night”.

Hovannisian said that while passing the Presidential Headquarters opposition supporters were free to express themselves, but he suggested that they sing the national anthem as a means of voicing their protest against what he has repeatedly called a ‘false’ oath taken by President Serzh Sargsyan at an inauguration earlier that day.

Earlier, Hovannisian, accompanied by Police Chief Gasparyan, led part of his supporters to a hilltop memorial to victims of the Armenian Genocide at Tsitsernakaberd where he prayed for Armenia’s tomorrow, which he said would bring a new dawn for the nation.

Before that a group of protesters remaining locked in the standoff with riot police led by another former presidential candidate Andrias Ghukasyan announced the start of a sin-in, but he was later reportedly taken to a police department.

Another senior oppositionist and Hovannisian aide, deputy chairman of the Heritage Party Armen Martirosyan, who suffered a broken nose in the evening scuffles, was also first reported to have been taken to a police station. But the police chief said later that the oppositionist was not in police custody, but was rather in hospital to receive medical treatment.