YEREVAN — Driven by the increasing displeasure of violence taking place in public areas, on Monday, the Government ruled to ban traditional violence in the cultural areas of downtown Yerevan. Opera square, Republic Square and Aram Khachaturyan museum among other areas will be targeted as violence free zones by the police and other law enforcers. Police officials are reluctant to embrace the new restriction but vow to follow the reform sharply.
International organizations saluted the law as a “step in the right direction”. In Yerevan, European Council representative Zelina Clifshots stressed the need to further entrench democratic reforms: “Armenia is moving in the right direction. The European Council definitely frowns upon violence in public places. We hope that this new reform will succeed in keeping Yerevan’s public parks and recreational areas free of violence. We also commend the positive attitude of police officers who have committed to reducing the geographic scope of violence and are further taking all atrocities to specialized indoor facilities. ”
Ecology activists also stepped in to support the inclusion of public parks on the Government prepared “violence-free list”. President of “Armenian Forests” NGO Jeffrey Tufenkian argues: “There have been too many incidents where the use of force against citizens resulted in 80-90kg pensioners and other lighter citizen items falling on young trees and bushes. This kind of open-air violence is a real threat to the fragile ecology of Yerevan. The law should definitely be amended to include the public parks of Yerevan, which although are not many, should remain violence-free zones.”
Police are having difficulty recovering from the hard blow that the new reform has placed on professional pride and general police spirit, and it has been reported that many officers are now quitting their jobs. Officials refuse to comment on this, but sources have shared the widespread disappointment among law enforcers. An undisclosed police official was approached by our reporter and stated, “It’s not going to be the same. Of course we can still do as we like with people at police stations or in the suburbs, but it can hardly compare to the thrill of beating up young opposition activists near Saryan monument or Opera House on Friday night. Our job loses spontaneity and all the excitement.”
With a heavy sigh, the insider also described the massive exodus of officers from the service. “People used to join the police for the privilege of physically harming civilians and this new reform has made their life-time dedication…simply pointless. It’s really not fair,” stated the source.
He continued, “I know this may sound sentimental, but there’s a special kind of magic in clubbing teenagers near the Khachaturian monument just before sunset.. It just feels so right.. Now as we take all the bullying indoors, it will never feel the same again.. never..”
Resisting a nostalgic tear, the officer continued to expand on experiences: “I’ll never forget the first time I beat up a female reporter covering a protest near Parliament house.. Maybe it’s not too professional, but I could feel that special connection with the victim, as she looked into my eyes. I still keep a few of her teeth at home, which is perhaps kinda childish.. i know.. But these little cute things make it all worth it.”
Our source, lighting a cigarette and mildly smiling, plunged into further nostalgia revealing, “Then there’s all the fuss when the ambulance comes to pick up our victims.. That amazing blaring of the siren… Again, perhaps, this is silly or sentimental, but I usually like to follow up to get a diagnosis from the hospital.. It just makes it so rewarding to discover that your work can leave long-term consequences”.
The source remained very skeptical about the possible outcomes of the reform: “Yerevan is not going to be the same without open-air violence. It’s not right to disregard long-standing traditions just to suck up to Europe.. I mean, what’s next — banning homophobia? What’s this country turning into? I don’t want my kids to live in this new kind of Armenia.. If these restrictions and reforms continue, it will be better for many of us to just move to Russia.”