A protest action took place today, October 15, at 13:00 in front of the Government Building on Republi Square aiming to stop the destruction of the unique natural rock formation, called “Symphony of Stones” in Garni, near the beautiful pagan temple which is a prime tourism destination for Armenia. According to Bekaisa the protest-action attracted around 50 people, mostly LJ bloggers, which according to her is a very small number for such a important environmental action. The protesters signed a petition calling to action and handed it to the Prosecutor, who will respond in the course of 10 days, according to RA law.
The important specifics of this action lies in the fact, that it was advocated, organized and coordinated fully on-line, demonstrating once again the potential of Internet technologies for exercising democracy in Armenia. Alas, the opportunities are generally not used.
On October 6, 2007 ArmInfo released information about destruction of the unique quadras known as “Symphony of stones” in Garni. As it became clear to ArmInfo correspondent, it is already two days that destruction of unique and picturesque monument of the nature is taking place not far from the pagan temple of the I century Garni, in the Azat river gorge. Two years ago ArmInfo managed to signal in time about a similar fact and to prevent destruction of the unique quadras. That time Ecology Minister Vardan Ayvazyan promised to involve the stones zone in the administrative territory of Khosrof park, but local authorities prevented that stemming from their own ideas and benefit. Today several local residents supported by the village administration continue doing vandalism, “cutting” beautiful basalt quadras created by the nature and being a subject of vital interest of numerous tourists, and use them like construction material. The head of Garni village administration is responsible for this, but he did not want to have contacts with the press.
ArmInfo | 2007-10-06 15:53:00 ‘
Symphony of stones’ to be destroyed again
The case was further actively advocated by a number of Armenian blogs, a special blog was set up to pursue the case and help stop vandalism at http://bnamard.blogspot.com/. Some of the other blogs to proactively cover the issue were: Life around me, Kornelij Glas, Bekaisa, Aerial-Vortex, Freedom Fighter, Ahousekeeper and others. The problem was also on the center of attention also on a number of Armenian forums, including: OpenArmenia and Armkb, although I daresay, most of the forum users and moderators are also LiveJournal bloggers.
At any rate, todays action has attracted a lot of media attention according to Bekaisa, so feedback of the authorities is guaranteed. Interestingly the Public TV of Armenia had a very thorough and highly professional investigative piece on Sunday’s informational-analytical program “360 degrees”, which definitely attracted a lot of attention, if not the protest action today.