Armenia: “Million Mask March” organiser given six-year prison sentence

Participants of the march turned violent against police pressure

Participants of the march turned violent against police pressure

The main organizer of last year’s “Million Mask March” has this week been sentenced to six years in prison by an Armenian court.

Shant Arutyunyan, leader of the Tsegakron Party and the main organiser, was sentenced to prison time following the events of the march, which saw protesters and political activists clash with police in Yerevan.

The march, held in November 2013, saw large numbers of anti-government protesters march in the streets of Yerevan. The march however led to dozens of arrests after protesters clashed with police, leading to injuries and destruction of damage. Among the marchers were many supporters of the Tsegakron party, around 19 of whom were arrested.

Arutyunyan’s prosecution comes alongside the prosecution of many members of his political party, who were charged with various acts of disorderly conduct and rendering resistence. Among thouse also sentenced was Arutyunyan’s 15-year-old son Shagen, who was sentenced to four years of conditional imprisonment.

Despite many party members and supporters facing arrest following the march Tsegakron Party claim they will continue to push their agenda into the mainstream. The ‘Million Mask March’ was originally planned to protest Armenia’s proposed membership to the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union, an action that the party say they will continue to fight.

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