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Armenia Targets Opposition Group Calling For Protests

YEREVAN -- An Armenian opposition group calling for antigovernment protests on April 24 says police have detained several of its leaders and activists.

Activists of Constituent Parliament group told reporters in Yerevan on April 7 that the organization's chairman, Garegin Chugaszian, and four other leaders or members were detained after their offices and homes were searched.

Constituent Parliament had announced its plans to organize mass protests during events marking the 100th anniversary of what Armenia considers genocide at the hands of Ottoman Turks.

Armenia's Investigative Committee said that four Constituent Parliament activists were detained on suspicion of plotting "mass disorder" on April 24.

The committee did not confirm Chugaszian was detained

It also said that a grenade was found in the house of the leader of the group's branch in the city of Gyumri on April 7.

The World War I-era mass slaughter and deportation of up to 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks is considered by many historians and several nations as genocide. Turkey objects, saying that Armenians died in much smaller numbers and because of civil strife rather than a planned Ottoman government effort to annihilate the Christian minority.