Developments in Armenia: Opposition Protests Continue

Armenian opposition protest started in the Liberty square on February 20, in response to large-scale electoral fraud, vote buying and violence, ended today, 10 days after, with police forces storming the square around 7 o’clock in the morning and forcing the tent-camp of the protesters out.

The opposition protest, peaceful as it was, was held with violations of the RA Law on Gatherings and Peaceful protests. Usually, during the day, there would be from 20-40,000 opposition supporters gathering for the rally. The number tripled at least on one occasion, on February 26th, when people forcibly brought to the Republic square in Yerevan to support the pro-government candidate Serzh Sargsyan went over to join the rally in support of Serzh Sargsyan’s opponent – Ter-Petrossian.

Despite numerous warnings from police, the President – the protesters stayed in the Liberty square day and night, sleeping in tents put up in the square and burning bonfires to get warm. During the 9 days of the protests, authorities launched a massive propaganda campaign against the Ter-Petrossian supporters, portraying protesters as armed rioters, drug addicts, alcoholics and homeless. Meanwhile a number of arrests of vocal opposition figures as well as Yerkrapah members (a union of former Karabakh war freedom fighters) were carried out. A case was reported, when State Security servicemen had joined the rally disguised, and tried to provoke the peaceful protesters for more aggressive actions, but had been prevented from doing so by organizers of the opposition rally.

Yesterday President Kocharyan spoke again, warning of police action. Today, after police strike, violence was reported, the opposition supporters tried to resist with stones and sticks. From what I know around 31 people have suffered so far, 6 of whom have been police officers.At the moment the Liberty square is chained by police forces.

Police are claiming, that they had evidence about preparations by the opposition forces to distribute weapons and start violent actions. However, this morning during, and after the police attack on protesters, journalists were prevented from taking photos and videos, the camera of a Yerkir-Media TV operators was broken. Later, the police footage shows various types of weapons found in the Liberty square after police had cleared the place of the protesters, however, considering all the propaganda and dirty methods of police action we have seen so far, it is hard to believe, that this is not fabricated evidence.

From various media reports we learn, that the police violently beat up those in the Liberty square and chased them down several streets. By 12 o’clock when I was near the French embassy, there were riot police forces blocking the area, with crowds of angry people squeezed between the police forces in front of the French embassy on Grigor Lusavorich street. Other people were coming to the area, some were throwing rocks at the police from the side of the French embassy and from the rear – from the Yerevan Municipality side. Approaching proved a difficult task, I took some video shots, and turned back.
Anyway – I still see this as a struggle of two power hungry elites, and some 30-40,000 people, manipulated by Ter-Petrossian, blinded by hatred and lies from the side of the opposition, caught in between. Ter-Petrossian knew the police would act, but kept lying to people, claiming support of police officials. The government had to use force to restore order – and I think it is exactly as it should be.

Anyways – an hour later I left for Gyumri – my parents kept calling, urging to come over with my wife. So I did. Was it an act of a coward? Maybe – but hell, this is not my fight! Ter-Petrossian wants power? Let him go get it now, although I’m sure, that his becoming president won’t bring anything good to the country. Unfortunately, with all these people finally pissed off by police violence, Ter-Petrossian still has a very real chance! According to the latest reports people have gathered in front of the Sundukian theatre, near the French embassy led by Stepan Demirchyan, Nikol Pashinyan, Aram Sargsyan and Khachatur Suqiasyan, and are waiting for Ter-Petrossian to come and speak to them. There’s a long day ahead…

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40 thoughts on “Developments in Armenia: Opposition Protests Continue

  1. [deleted by administrator for obscenity]. You still see that this is not a struggle.

    Ditord

    I will be in ARmenia on March 11, I want to have debate with you first then I want to
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity], just becuase I want to eliminate the JAILAMS and
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity] like you.

    Do you agree? I will debate first. I will first
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity] morally then phisically.
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity]

  2. Observer and Ditord

    Are you stupid enough that this not about Levon and Serge anymore.

    I see you Jailams, when I make point you always throw in the factor LEVON. This is not about LEVON anymore. This is about our nation, who want basic human rights.

    [deleted by administrator for obscenity] you hate Levon so much that you are willing to put a blind eye on all of this that happens RIGHT NOW.

    People just protest, they do not want that authorities dictate them how to live.

    Read the statments of OSCE or Raffi’s “Heritage”.

    Stupid Observer, do not manipulate people here discussing the issue. YOu always bring the Levon factor. This is not about Levon.

    I think you have pretty big stake in Serge Regime, but you do not want to discover yourself and keep you as if independent, but in reality you are a big JAILAM

  3. Shame on you Ditord! After all that you reported, you’re still talking about 30-40,000 as being manipulated? At many points during these days, and today near the French embassy there are more than 150,000 people… streets are clogged up with people. Worst of all… you’re leaving for Gyumri, instead of staying and “observing” what has been, and will turn out to be a seminal event for our young republic. Shame on you – I had a much higher regard for you, not anymore…

  4. New Yorker Levon – Pls ease up on the disinformation campaign. If you have ever been to Yerevan and seen the French Embassy, pls tell me how 150,000 people can fit there.

    Instead of blaming Ditord with whatever incomprehensible drivel you are uttering, why don’t you participate in state-building?

    Worst of all, he is going to Gyumri? Is it worse that going to the Bronx to get a hot dog, or watching a Yankees game, or god knows what else you are doing to add to the “seminal event”?

  5. Levon – I’m wright now working on my information website – http://www.echannel.am – updating it with news and information. I had plan to go to Gyumri as I always go on weekends, to see my son, and take care of some family business. Today – as I learned of the police action, I went down to the Liberty square, then drove by the French embassy, went near the protesters when they were throwing stones at police, and those were reacting with shoutings and trying to hit back anything that moves, especially those with cameras. Some photos and videos are still in my camera, some are already up on my YouTube channel or will be soon.

    Don’t tell me I haven’t done anything about this situation – in fact, I’ve done more, than I cared to! I think anyone, who should be blamed are: Levon Ter-Petrossian and Robert Kocharyan. So from your safe place in NY go blame them – OK? As for me – I’ll continue providing information, videos and observations, as much as I find possible and as long as it’s objective.

  6. AH: I never mentioned fitting people in the embassy. I suggest you read http://www.armenianow.com right now, the English version… “Meanwhile, his supporters have gathered near the French Embassy in Yerevan in mass numbers larger than any crowds seen here since Ter-Petrosyan and others started the “Karabakh Movement” almost exactly 20 years ago.” I’m not sure if you know this but the numbers during the Karabakh movement were well beyond in the several hundred thousands.

    You have no idea what I’m doing right now, I’d suggest you ask instead of blurting out words.

  7. Hayk – we can meet and talk whenever. I’ll be flying to UK this Monday and will be back on March 16.

    You are an offensive idiot. I’ll be happy to see what you have to say about developments in Armenia, after which, if you don’t convince me, that you are absolutely right in claiming, that Levon is the savior and that this opposition standoff is the only right thing to do – I’ll be happy to break your teeth for speaking all this offensive shit, calling names and offending me on my own blog.

    Don’t like it, don’t read it! Who are you to tell me what I should be thinking and saying. This very morning I have done much more for LTP and the people protesting out there, then you possible can from your safe distance in US!

  8. Ditord,

    You have no idea what it feels like to read these things in bits and pieces from NY… You have no idea what it feels like not being able to participate in a historical movement such as this. You should not rub that in… I feel like in a self-imposed exile my friend. So, if I were you I’d just let my guilt do its work, you don’t have to add to it anything.

    This is no place for me to explain to you why I’m in this situation, but rest assured those of us that have to live outside for temporary reasons and have no feasible way of getting back to Armenia (and believe me I wish it was a fear of getting arrested or being beaten up, I’d have preferred that to the situation I’m in any day) yearn for information, and also, take my word for it, are reasonable info to filter out partisan hacks. Thus, it will not be useful to cast me in that category. I just wish you would finally recognize that LTP, even if he’s the direct descendant of the Devil himself, has been able to free people, and made the break the chains of fear. That should be your story, my friend… and not this constant fixation on LTP. The message is of value here, and not the messenger.

    Let freedom ring!
    Let freedom ring from Shushi to Echmiadzin!
    Let freedom ring from Meghri to Alaverdi!
    Let freedom ring!

  9. Levon – the reason I’ve been going to the Liberty square every day is because I care about freedom. The reason I look at things objectively is also about freedom. Because if I lie once, when the moment comes for me to tell the truth, nobody will believe me.

    Trust me – my heart aches. I’ve waiting for my taxi to come and take me back to Yerevan now, so I can edit my video footage and go join the people on the street. I’ve been on the street 9 days.

    But also trust me – I don’t think this is a “nationwide” thing! I don’t see it when I look around! I see, that with his calls and urging, Levon has driven people into a desperate condition, and these people are being beaten, and Levon, instead of calling them to be calm and seeking a political solution to the problem, is further pushing it! Doesn’t he feel responsability for those, who were beaten? For those, who beleived, that Levon had a solution, because he kept telling so, while he never had one?

    You tell me don’t think about Levon? But than – what will happen next? When he wins – and I’m telling you again, he has a very good chance now! What will he do? The irresponsible leader he is – he will ruin us!

  10. Levon, I am familiar with armenianow and read their pro-opposition reporting with great interest. I frankly do not care what you are doing in New York. I know that there were hundreds of thousands participating in the Karabakh movement 20 years ago, which has very very few similarities to the idolatry and demagoguery being witnessed now in Yerevan. the stupidity of the authorities (of course counted on by Levon) will give some sympathy to Levon, but I hope and pray the violence will end soon and people can get on with their work and school and lives.

    Our nation should demand better governance and work to attain it, but in fact that is the last thing on the mind of the morally bankrupt organizers of what we are seeing today. The expected result? Another wave of dissatisfied disenchanted people who couldn’t see through the self-serving lies and slogans in the name of freedom, justice, and all that stuff.

  11. Public service Free Math Lesson:

    “Tens of thousands or more” does not equal 150,000.

    Please do not read into my comment, I am not minimizing the crowd numbers. But enough exaggeration and repetition of others’ lies. And this is from a pro-opposition site. I have no independent verification of the crowd size today at the French Embassy.

  12. Observer

    You will break mt teeth?

    Ok, I know who you are now. As you told you are the owner of echannel.com yes?

    I will have very good debate with you, and I am sure that you will be broken morally so badly that you will not be able even to rais your hand.

    You remind me Arthur Baghdasaryan, kind of that guy.

    I will meet you, 100%. I do not want to respond that I will break your “this and that”, but I promiss you that I will break you morally.

    You stupid asshole, cannot normally answer to any point that bring. Whenevr I bring any point, you bring the factor of Levon. You delibarately do not want to talk about the nation, the people, the Armenians, only thing yin your stupid head is just Levon. You hate Levon so much, that you are willing to sucrifice any moral or human value.

    I am saying you again, be 100% that I am going to see you after you come back from UK on March 16, and be prepared to be morally destroyed.

    You are JAILAM, nothing else. You think you are a reporter or Journalist? If you were, you could be somewhat persuasive and morally educated.

  13. Ditord,

    I’ll be the first person to cast a stone at him, the moment I see him retreating from his basic principles. The second freedom is threaten, I’ll become the first to report it to the world. If LTP, in this campaign, has done one thing, that is critically significant, is this whole idea of holding governments accountable – which, ironically has made his potential presidency a lot more difficult undertaking. So, I highly doubt he’s the same guy as 10 years ago, and it is clear that Armenia and Armenians are not the same as they were 10 years ago. So, we have to factor in these variables and then come to our conclusions… It goes without saying that I have and continue to appreciate all you’ve done throughout this tumultuous period. I have not agreed with you on your positions regarding LTP, but always respected it. I just hope we are able to see beyond LTP – because at this juncture, when LTP is under house arrest, and people have gathered in unprecedented numbers – the movement is no longer about LTP. It is about saying “NO, and we’re just not going to take it anymore”.

    Let freedom ring, Let it ring.. Let it ring so much that those of us that would have given a lot to have been able to be by your side in Yerevan, could hear it from wherever we are… Let freedom ring.

  14. Observer

    In your http://www.echannel.com, you are more objective, because you are taking responsibility for the information you provide.

    But when you come on this forum, you are clearly biased, and you clearly do not want to see the objective realties.

    This is very good reason to break you morally. JAILAMS like you do not have any moral right to enter the internet and make their points without any grounds. You have 2 kinds opinions, one for your business where you are objective (www.echannel.com), and the other on the forums where you disseminate disinformation.

    After March 16, you will not do this anymore, becuase you will see the reality.

  15. Unfortunately I won’t be able to participate in that meeting with you dear Hayk and have the honour to witness your genius and the moral strength to brake Artur, but I’ d advise Artur no to bother . Ignore this guy and stop replying to his pointless accusations. Blogs are supposed to be a place for intelligent exchange of views, not a street argument.

  16. AH

    Again you are about Karabakh?

    Do you know the program of republican party?

    Before the presidential elections they had 3 points about Karabakh

    1. Karabakh cannot directly be depended on Azerbaijan

    2. Karbakh has to have common border with Armenia

    3. Karabakh has to have international guarantees of safety.

    NOW (I mean right now) the same republican program is as follows about Karabakh

    1. Karabakh has to have right of self-determination
    2. Karbakh has to have common border with Armenia

    3. Karabakh has to have international guarantees of safety.

    As you see, 2-nd and the 3-rd points are the same, but the first point is changed. This is done for Serge Sarkisian. The west told him, that if you want to be president, you have to change your position on Karabakh.

    These are facts. The first is resolution, accepted by the parliament, and republican party accepted that under the Andranik Margarian.

    Then when Serge decided to become president, they changed their position. What does it mean self-determination? Nothing. This is not independence.

    So, you also think what you are talking about. Serge’s position about the Karbakh is worse than Levon’s position.

  17. Dear All,

    You can read the latest information from Levon Ter-Petrossian temp HQ at http://www.levonforpresident.com
    They are made online as soon as they are produced.
    I will also try to put A1+ latest news and videos in the blog section as it is hard to open the a1plus website.
    This was the last thing that they could do but they failed, they couldnt break the people. The people are still in the streets and fighting back.
    The police beat women, children, pregnants, elderly anybody they can find. This reminds me the stories that my grandma used to tell about the Adana massacre by Turks.
    Anybody supporting or justifing this is not much different from the ones who implement it.

    And to AH,
    you F**** fascist SOB have you seen teh videos, have you seen the people being beaten up? How can you still open your mouth?

  18. Nice to meet you too HaikN (What is it with the name Haik?? I kinda liked it before meeting the cult worshipers on this blog??!!?? Once named Haik, forever forgo all logic…)

    I for one am not at all in support of the violence against the misguided people. I think it is terrible that it has come to that and there is alot of blame to be shared by many.

    But please, do our grandparents a favor and please do not make such outlandish comparisons. What happened in Adana in 1909 and what is happening in Yerevan now is so incomprehensibly different that I have nothing to say.

  19. Levon (NYC) Says:

    Shame on you Ditord! After all that you reported, you’re still talking about 30-40,000 as being manipulated? At many points during these days, and today near the French embassy there are more than 150,000 people…

    Sorry, Levon, very unlikely. Not sure about the morning, but when I was there from 3-7pm there were maybe 10,000. One supposes that 140,000 didn’t decide to go home for lunch, right?

    Anyway, please, everybody, some calm. Argue your points but don’t resort to personal attacks and threats. When you do that, just as when force is used on the streets by police, everybody loses.

    Not my blog, but my opinion.

  20. wow,why are you pointing guns toward Ditord? He’s doing a great job and if you dont like what he sees and writes,then you are free to ignore. This weblog has turned into a battlefield for some people to shout and break nose and? where are we going?

  21. Armenia is ready to declare a state of emergency if an ongoing post-election political crisis deepens, Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanian warned Saturday.

  22. Onnik jan,

    Save your sarcasm for another day. I cited my source for those numbers (read above for the response I gave to AH, and ArmeniaNow just repeated those claims in a later report).

  23. The crowds are organized, have been preparing for today’s events. There are field-commanders in charge of smaller groups, coordinated by these in charge. Their movements are controlled, that’s why they are so hard to brake.

  24. Levon,

    Just stating facts. Not more than 10,000 and others said 5-7,000. I think ArmeniaNow is obviously getting a little bit too carried away with itself, but anyway. Interestingly, John Hughes turned up at one point with a translator so he should know better.

    Archuk,

    I didn’t get that feeling today. In fact, Nikol Pashinian seemed to be the one in charge, and even did a tour of the barricades to check them for holes (photos on my blog later today). On the other hand, as I left some Yerkrapah looking guys arrived, but I don’t know if they were responsible for anything or not. Actually, they looked to be the same guys I saw who convened a meeting with Levon in the Astral cafe in the early hours of Tuesday morning when I was at Liberty Square.

    BTW: I just received two phone calls 30 minutes ago warning “If you’re still there, get out now. Wave after wave of riot police is heading your way. It’s mayhem,” is pretty much what both said. I think tonight is going to be very nasty indeed with both sides meaning business. I fear that casualties are going to be high and there might even be fatalities.

  25. My hat is off to Robert and Serzh. They have demonstrated wisdom, patriotism, and plenty of patience over the last two weeks. In the first seven days of protests, an opening was given to those in opposition who were genuinely interested in contributing to the advancement of the nation and who were rightfully discontent with certain things. LTP was never in that camp. I can only speculate as to whose bidding he might be doing. His previous track record and his arrogant, destructive and irresponsible conduct during the campaign and post election should’ve made it abundantly clear to any sensible Armenian that he his neither interested nor capable of advancing the goals of the nation and being a leader of a country with such complex geopolotical challenges as Armenia. Unfortunately, thousands of people were blindsighted and duped into following him. It is now time for the government to act, in order to prevent further destruction and deterioration of anything and everything that has been achieved by Armenia thus far. I hope and pray that, in the heat of emotion, people on all sides of the political spectrum will put the interests of the nation ahead of personal wishes and ambitions.

  26. Levon, I saw your citation, and simply pointed out (in case my Public Serve Math Lesson wasn’t clear) that you can’t add zeros wherever you feel like it in mathematics.

  27. AFP reports: Protesters and riot police clashed Saturday in Yerevan with demonstrators throwing Molotov cocktails and stones and police firing tear gas and automatic weapons into the air.

  28. Hat is off to Robert and Serzh?! Yes they were patient during the protests…… but did they have any choice? They knew what’d happen when they did clamp down, and we see it now. Meanwhile did they demonstrate WISDOM and PATRIOTISM when they were busy fixing the elections??? Feelings about Levon and his own self-interest in this aside- don’t forget Robert and Serzh are corrupt and have been getting rich off of Armenia for 10 years now!!!!! I don’t care if you think Levon is the biggest traitor Armenia is ever seen and is using thousands of people to regain power- no one says you have to like him but do not make heroes out of Robert and Serzh because you don’t like their opponent. If anything this is a tragedy without a hero.

  29. AP: If Levon Ter Petrossian is accused of committing a crime, he should be properly charged and prosecuted in a court of law like anyone else. In a democracy you cannot arbitrarily detain political opponents, said Terry Davis, secretary-general of the Council of Europe, the continent’s main human rights body.

  30. LTP must be having some weird psychosis-flashback to 12 years ago. Check out the words of freedom and liberty from the horse’s mouth.

    This is why this movement is doomed. It is bringing out the worst in our people, both those in government and those playing follow-the-leader.

  31. Reuters: Riot police fired in the air to disperse an opposition rally on Saturday in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, scene of 10 days of street protests over a presidential election which the opposition says was rigged.
    Hundreds of policemen in full riot gear cut off the area where several embassies are located.

  32. guys please get that fool “haik” off this forum, he continuously goes overboard with his insulting and foul comments! typical of the effendi Levon peasant mentality while trying to separate Armenians from one another.

  33. Rober and Serj are criminals against humanty and Armenian people.
    they falsified the elections, they beaten up the peaceful protestors and now they are ready to kill them. There was already a report that a corps was found in leo street.

    Instead they could stop all this and leave.

    Armenia from today is among the failed states.

  34. Developments in Armenia are part of a New World order in creation. Oil prices are sky high and dollar is going to further weaken with US recession already in process. US now needs destabilization all over the world to bring the oil prices down.

    Kosovo independence was a blow to Europe’s unity. The situation in Armenia is a blow to Russia before tomorrow’s elections. This is how we should view the situation. Everything else is just political technologies…

  35. Armenia Now says that two people have died so far — one policeman and one protester. However, there is no other reports of this so far. Nevertheless, my gut feeling is that there will be a body count tomorrow morning.

    Personally speaking, I think that Levon Ter-Petrossian should instruct his supporters to return home and Kocharian should order the police (and now army as a state of emergency has since been called) to stand down.

    However, both sides need to agree to this. For the sake of the country I hope they do.

  36. I’ve just got some details about how it had started. Someone from the last remaining protesters in opera square threw a grenade on to the chief police officer critically wounding him. This happened when police came first time, unarmed, to talk with protesters. Also the same guys critically bitten up someone from the heritage party who tried to stop them.
    I think there is a lot of misinformation and provocation going on in the crowd. Someone is playing dirty games.
    This should stop and all provocateurs who transformed peaceful protest to riots should be put in jail or undergo psychic treatment. They probably lost their mind under extreme stress and hatred.
    Irony is that same thing happened during previous election.

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