Photos by Tatul Hakobyan
PARIS–Peaceful Armenian demonstrators in Paris Friday were met with violence as riot police attacked demonstrators, dozens of whom shouted “No!” Police dragged several protesters away kicking and screaming.
The protesters greeted President Serzh Sarkisian at the start of his tour of Armenian communities worldwide, shouting “traitor!” and decrying his plans to concede the historical and legal rights of the Armenian people in exchange for relations with Turkey.
Sarkisian later put in a brief appearance, walking past protesters shouting through bullhorns and moved onto to a public gathering he had organized on the issue of the protocols. 100 delegates, from all over Europe, were present with each having three minutes to speak on the issue. At the time of this post, the meeting was still going on behind closed doors.
“Sarkisian was about to lay wreath on Gomidas’ statue in Paris, right there, around 1000 demonstrators were present from Europe, protesting against the protocols,” French-Armenian journalist Jean Eckian told Asbarez. “Sarkisian arrived an hour late, due to the demonstrator’s intensity. They were shouting “votch votch”. Sarkisian had managed to stay for around a minute only; that’s when the clashes started with the french police.”
“Police arrived on the scene and surrounded the demonstrators warning them not to shout any slogans and to put down their signs,” said Eckian, an independent correspondent covering the event. “The police started to pull people away, ripping their clothes and hitting them. I saw them pushing one old woman out of the square.”
After Paris, Sarkisian is set to continue what is dubbed a “pan-Armenian tour” with visits to New York, Los Angeles, Beirut and Rostov-on-Don in Russia to discuss a planned meeting Oct. 10 when the Turkish and Armenian foreign ministers are expected to sign the deal to establish ties.
Demonstrations are organized in every city he plans to visit. Thousands are anticipated to gather on October 3 in New York to protest Sarkisian’s visit to the Armenian community there, while the Armenian community in Los Angeles is planning a massive, day-long protest of the President’s visit at the Beverly Hills Hilton.
for more information on the planned demonstrations, visit: http://stoptheprotocols.com