The European Union has demanded the immediate release of protestors arrested in Armenia while exercising their right of peaceful assembly. The spokesperson of the European Union External Action Service said in a statement issued in Brussels that "the right to exercise freedom of assembly in a peaceful manner and in accordance with the law is a universal and fundamental right of all".
Nikol Pashinyan, the leader of the mass protests that have been held peacefully throughout Armenia for the last ten days was areested this morning, as were several other members of parliament and leaders of civil society, as well as protestors.
The European Union statement added:
The European Union expects the Armenian authorities to fully respect this right and to apply the law in a fair and proportionate manner, in accordance with Armenia's international obligations, including in particular under the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. All those who have been detained while exercising their fundamental right of assembly in accordance with the law must be released immediately.
It is of utmost importance that all parties involved show restraint and act responsibly. An inclusive dialogue, as President Arman Sarkissian has called for, aimed at an immediate and peaceful resolution of the current situation is essential. It is therefore disappointing and worrying that today's short meeting between Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan and MP Nikol Pashinyan did not prevent further escalation.
source: commonspace.eu with the press service of the EEAS
Ahead of the expected Armenia-Azerbaijan summit, Benyamin Poghosyan argues in this op-ed for commonspace.eu, that the negotiating paradigm based on the Madrid principles is doomed.
"In essence this is an olive branch to the government's critics", commonspace.eu political editor said in a comment. "Its significance should not be understated. President Aliyev has in the last weeks been preparing the country for major changes. This presidential pardon may well be the opening shot of more to come".