Armenia police detains 4 opposition activists

AP News
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Posted: Apr 07, 2015 9:03 AM

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Armenian police on Tuesday detained and raided the offices and homes of four opposition activists suspected of plotting riots on the centennial of the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians that Armenia describes as genocide.

The Investigative Committee said in a statement on Tuesday that four activists of the Founding Parliament opposition group, including its leader, are in custody. The group, however, says five of its members were detained.

The investigators said they have "prevented an attempt to orchestrate riots" on April 24 in Armenia's capital Yerevan to commemorate 100 years since the massacre of Armenians by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I. The killings are widely viewed by scholars as the 20th century's first genocide. Turkey rejects the term, maintaining that the figure is inflated and that people died on both sides.

Founding Parliament is a nationalist organization run by Jirair Sefilian, a battalion commander during a war over the ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.

The group told The Associated Press that Sefilian and his brother are among those detained and that their offices and homes are being searched.

Sefilian's group has previously called for protests against the ruling party and the government and has officially notified the city hall of a planned protest.