Accessibility links

Breaking News

Watchdog

Eight protesters and two police officers were killed in the unrest in 2008. (file photo)

Armenia is marking the 11th anniversary of a bloody crackdown on protesters who were then challenging the official result of the country’s presidential election that year.

Eight protesters and two police officers were killed in the unrest after Serzh Sarkisian, a close ally of then outgoing President Robert Kocharian, was announced the winner back in 2008.

In an address to parliament on March 1, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian stressed that the government at the time used deadly force against peaceful protesters.

Pashinian then read out the names of all 10 victims, noting that five of them died of gunshot wounds.

On the evening of March 1, Pashinian is scheduled to lead a rally and a march through the central streets of Yerevan to commemorate the victims.

Pashinian became prime minister last year following peaceful protests that he spearheaded, ousting Sarkisian and severely weakening the establishment that had been in place in the South Caucasus nation since Kocharian’s rule.

Kocharian is currently under arrest. He was charged with illegally ordering security forces to use force against opposition supporters in 2008. He denies any wrongdoing.

The conditions that belugas and orcas were being kept in have been described as a "whale prison" by Russian media. (file photo)

Russian news agencies say authorities have filed criminal charges against the owners of four companies in the Pacific region of Primorye for holding dozens of captive whales in shoddy and cramped conditions.

The case had sparked outrage in Russia and criticism from President Vladimir Putin when images of the captive whales, which included orcas and belugas, were published last year.

Russian media have called the conditions a "whale prison."

The RIA-Novosti and TASS news agencies said February 28 that the Federal Security Service had accused the owners of violating federal fishing laws, and ordered the animals released.

People take part in a protest in Moscow last week demanding the release of beluga and orca whales in Russia’s Far East.
People take part in a protest in Moscow last week demanding the release of beluga and orca whales in Russia’s Far East.

"An examination showed that the animals were kept in unsatisfactory conditions, and must be released into their natural habitat," TASS quoted the service as saying.

The whales were destined for sale in aquariums abroad.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week that Putin had personally gotten involved in the issue. Peskov also noted that Russia allows catching whales for scientific purposes.

The issue had drawn international attention as well, with a online petition to release the whales, circulating on social media.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio was among celebrities who had shared the petition, which has gathered more than 900,000 signatures.

Load more

About This Blog

"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

Subscribe

Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More

XS
SM
MD
LG