Council of Europe Secretary General Terry Davis on the declaration of the state of emergency in Yerevan

Strasbourg, 2 March 2008, “I am very concerned about the latest developments in Yerevan and the declaration of the state of emergency. I am shocked to learn that at least 8 people have been killed, and I call on the authorities to investigate all these deaths and the allegations of excessive use of force. Obviously, the investigations should focus on finding the perpetrators of crimes and should not be used to harass political opponents.
Both the authorities and the opposition should do everything they can to prevent any further violence.
I hope that the state of emergency will be lifted very soon. Meanwhile, I call on the authorities to review the justification for the restrictions imposed – especially on media, political parties and non-governmental organisations. These restrictions are an obstacle to political dialogue, which is the only way to find a political solution to the present situation.
The state of emergency suspends the application of several rights and freedoms protected by the European Convention on Human Rights. Under Article 15 of the Convention the Armenian Government must inform me of the measures which it has taken and the reasons therefor. I expect that they will do so without any delay.”

Riots Stopped. Peaople Going Home Leaving Yerevan In A Mess

People are peacefully going home gathered in small groups. An eyewitness said, that Levon Ter-Petrossian had called from his house, where he was sitting under house arrest, and told the protesters to go away, warning, that tanks and military are coming and more serious accidents will happen if people do not obey. Ter-Petrossian has also said, that they will mobilize again in 15 days, after the state of emergency declared today by President Kocharian is lifted, and will continue “demanding justice”.
“Բան չհասկացանք էս ամենից վերջը”(“So we didn’t understand anything in the end”), said a grim looking man in late 40’s.
Minibuses and cars used as barricades were already gone, the trolleybusses and a couple of busses, as well as the overturned and burned police cars could still be seen on both sides of Grigor Lusavorich street, which was the main site of rioting drama today. The riots have stopped for good it seems, leaving Yerevan in a mess… cars burned, shops robbed and we still don’t know how many people have died or are badly injured.

Riots in Yerevan. Protesters and Police Hurt.

Riots in Yerevan. Protesters and police hurt. Grigor Lusavorich street blocked by riot forces. People are carrying metal sticks, bottles filled with burning substance – to be used as hand granades. Busses and other means of transportation have been used to create barricades, blocking all entries to the Grigor Lusavorich street.
Walking on Lusavorich street feels like in war – police are firing in the air. Organized groups of rioters are up on the barricades. Some are carrying hemlets and shields obviously taken away from the riot police.
President Kocharyan has announced a state of emergency for 20 days. It is not curfew, however, gatherings, rallies and meetings are forbidden. Media are limited in their publications only to official information on everything related to internal political situation. We got some descriptions and videos on Echannel here and here . There’s some video footage on http://www.youtube.com/ditord. Also – check out the Armenia Election Monitor 2008, Unzipped for up to date info in English and the Armenian News Blog in Armenian.

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