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Again via Romamerda1 we have updates from the latest developments about the arrest of Nicol Pashinyan and other members of “Impeachment” party who, as the video description says, “were unjustly imprisoned for 8 hours on 23 October in Yerevan. After the meeting with the 1st president Ter-Petrosyan, police finally freed them at 3:20am.” A large group of people was chanting “Battle,battle until the end” and applauding president Levon Ter-Petrosyans and others.
I find it VERY SIGNIFICANT to note, that the police have freed the prisoners after the meeting with the 1st president Ter-Petrosyan. I am lost, not understanding what to make of it all, and so are most of the bloggers I’m reading, who have covered the story.
Armenia 2008 Election Monitor blog covered the story at length yesterday:
RFE/RL reports that “at least a dozen” opposition activists supportive of former president Levon Ter Petrosian have been detained. Their crime? In lieu of having access to the broadcast media to advertise Friday’s rally at which Ter Petrosian is due to speak, the activists used megaphones to announce the meeting on the streets of the Armenian capital, Yerevan. One of those detained is believed to be the outspoken editor of the pro-Ter Petrosian Haykakan Zhamank newspaper, Nikol Pashinian.
Given that the capital is full of people setting up loudspeakers at kiosks or even simple tables selling CDs on street corners even though they deafen passer-bys and local residents, as well as the dozens of entertainment complexes opened by corrupt officials and their relatives in public parks, the action does not appear at first glance to warrant such a response. It is unknown so far whether the activists obstructed traffic or otherwise “disturbed the peace.”
At any rate, with Friday’s rally looming ever closer, tensions seem to be rising. In part this is because however unpopular Ter Petrosian might have been, he is seen as the lesser of two evils by a significant number of people when quizzed about their voting preference for next year’s presidential election. Quite simply, they say, anyone is better than Serzh Sarkisian.
No wonder then, that the authorities and the ruling Republican party of the prime minister, presidential hopeful Serzh Sarkisian, are taking Friday’s rally very seriously indeed. Some would argue that they’re reacting in a manner that does not befit any country supposedly on the path towards democratization.
Mark Grigoryan says the opposition has great hopes on the rally scheduled for October 26th, which is likely to become the start of Armenia’s former President Levon Ter-Petrossian’s presidential campaign. The blogger notes, that although Yerevan authorities haven’t prevented the rally, the Republican party is organizing a free concert coinciding with the opposition rally, and mentions information about preparations of police forces. “Are they really so scared of them [the opposition]?” asks Mark Grigoryan with surprise concluding his analysis of the situation.
Other reports of the story can be found on Bekaisa, Armenianewsblog, Armenian Breaking News, Narjan, really interesting eyewitness account by David_Sand with a second post, detailing his view on the developments here:
Honestly speaking, it is hard to imagine better PR for an oppositionist, than his arrest not long before a scheduled rally. I can’t find an explanation to the arrest of the editors of “Armenian Times” and the “Forth Power”. This might be a result of police stupidity or carefully prepared PR. At any rate, this is how it all looked:
– police arrest editors of opposition newspapers, calling in the street for the citizens to come to the opposition rally,
– opposition gathers at the police department (and by the way – the representatives of parliamentary minority are also there), together with human right defenders, journalists and inhabitants of houses close to the police department,
– Levon Ter-Petrosian arrives, and everybody starts shouting “Levon, Levon”, as if the savior has come and brought the key to all problems of opposition,
– in a couple of hours the arrested are set free, which in the eyes of the public raises the authority of Ter-Petrosian.
The blogger also notes, that TV has ceased to serve as a source of information – because from his observations, there was no coverage of the events in the TV news reports. I can state that there was pretty good coverage on Yerkir Media TV – but that is the exception, proving the point made by David_Sand.
One of my absolute favorite bloggers, Pigh – is scandalous and against Levon Ter-Petrosian as ever:
Everything, everything, everything is done to make sure they have stuff to talk about at the rally… tomorrow, perhaps they’ll get somebodies head broken, and everything is to make sure there is a fresh topic to discuss…
There is an impression, that Levon has lot’s of support among oligarchs, although, if you look at it soberly, why not? Grzo, Lfik, Tsarukyan were all the creations of Vanik Smbatovich… (former Minister of Internal Affairs during LTP rule).
Very interestingly Pigh connects the recent price rises of sugar, which drew considerable public discontent with the current authorities, with the coming of LTP and the wish of oligarchs, supportive of the ex-president, to help him, by irritating the public with sudden price hikes on the eve of the presidential elections.