Armenian parliament passes bill on freedom of assembly

The Armenian parliament has passed a law on the freedom of assembly in the second reading on Tuesday, News Armenia reports.


Justice Minister Grayr Tovmasyan said that the current law was passed in 2004, before constitutional reforms referring to assemblies were held.


The new law has been under discussion for half a year. It was discussed by Armenian and foreign experts.


The justice minister said that the law sets mechanisms for holding negotiations with authorized structures and organizers of protests.


The document says that an assembly cannot be stopped by a police decision if it is held peacefully. Cultural and sports events are regulated by other laws.


Assemblies are allowed at territories near residential buildings from 22.00 to 8.00 (local time) without noise or light signals. The law will be adjusted in the future.


The Armenian Revolution Fraction Dashnaktsutyun did not take part in the voting process. Its leader Vaan Ovannisyan said that it was a political decision.


The fraction voted for the law in the first reading. Drawbacks of the law were pointed out.


A member of the fraction Artsvik Minasyan said that the law needs to consider communication means, otherwise campaigning will be complicated.


Some independent parliament members say that the law introduces more limitations for assemblies due to pre-election campaigning.


Parliamentary elections will be held in Armenia in 2012, and presidential ones in 2013.

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