Armenian opposition staged a massive rally in Yerevan’s Liberty square for the first time in 3 years, since that key location for political gatherings had been sealed off by the authorities following violent clashes in the Armenian capital back in March 2008.
The authorities had imposed a 3-year-long moratorium on holding opposition rallies in Liberty square, and all efforts of the Armenian National Congress (HAK), the largest opposition force in the country, to enter the square and stage a rally, or even a minor protest action were blocked in the past.
Ahead of tomorrow’s rally HAK supporters had announced on Facebook, that they plan to break into the square.
There was no “break into” however. The police had circled the Liberty square, and there were little confrontations here are there along the line, but following a short negotiation between HAK coordinator Levon Zourabian and the police, the opposition were peacefully let into the square.
Admittedly, another opposition force – Zharangutyun (Heritage) party had “liberated” the square two days ago, as Zharangutyun leader Raffi Hovhannisian staged a hunger strike in the square and created a precedent.
Interestingly, HAK leaders didn’t approach approach Raffi Hovhannisian either before, or after their rally, even though Zharangutyun supporters circling their leader were cheering for HAK and calling for “unity.” Raffi Hovhannisian also wasn’t invited to speak at HAK rally, which seems yet another indication of tensions between the two forces.
Below is the video of how exactly the opposition moved from Matenadaran, where their rally was authorized, to the Liberty square and broke in to stage a second rally in a day.