Silent protest action in Yerevan

An action of tribute to the victims of March 1, as well as protest against the clashes of March 1 and the following arrests that took place during the state of emergency was staged in Yerevan yesterday. E-channel reports, that the police had announced about the illegal nature of the protest.

At the beginning of the action, at 17:00, a few thousands of protest action participants had gathered at the Northern Avenue.

At 17:10, people started moving by the pavements to the square near the Myasnikyan monument. Many of them had photos of arrested people, as well as candles in glasses. Near the Myasnikyan monument, the police banned people to congregate, and a part of the action participants decided to go on walking to the Mashtots Avenue and reach the Opera.

Near the Margaryan hospital, the police approached the action participants, announcing “Your march is not licensed, please disperse.” The police banned the action participants to move on. An electric shocker was applied against a man – he was forced into a police car and taken away. The police demanded people to disperse, prohibiting them to stand at that segment of Mashtots avenue. A 60-years-old man asked the police, “Are you cleaning the area?” A police commander with an electric shocker instructed to take that man into a police department. The latter did not resist and quietly got in the police car.

About 15 minutes later, there were no participants of the action of protest in Mashtots Avenue.

The action of protest took place at other parts of the city. People managed to stand for an hour on the road from the Republic Square to the Myasnikyan monument, with candles and photos of arrested people in their hands. There was another row in front of them – the row of the police. At 19:00, the action was over, and the participants dispersed.

Photo and video via E-channel.am.

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41 thoughts on “Silent protest action in Yerevan

  1. Knowing Armenians (including the protesters and law-enforcement officers) I’m really revealed that things went smoothly and nothing serious happened to anyone. I don’t know if it’s a sad thing or a good thing but it seems police is getting experienced in handling the people smoothly. I chose to watch the video on A1Plus first because I was sure they would have tried to find the worst things to video and broadcast (knowing their style), and I’m happy that this video is the worst they’ve come up with. And by the way, I’ve been reading their Armenian version and the writing style is just *disgusting*, very low class. But I had to push myself to read it. Oh by the way, are these the group who call the authorities “geghatsi” and “angraget”? Not sure but I think I’ve read comments like that somewhere in comments.

    And Levon’s tactics and style has remained the same basically, it’s even getting worse, those candles, now he’s trying to profit from the dead and innocent people (otherwise photos of people arrested wouldn’t be there *with* the candles). He’s getting disgusting to me too (as well as his tactics). He’s not even creative enough to come up with a new good move either. He lost the chess and now he’s trying to smash the board. As protesters used the word “heratsi” I really hope he will just “herana” from political arena and hopefully Armenia totally. “Pasa poostat havaki oo heratsi, bavakan metz problemner oonenk arten avel@ chenk oozoom”. I just pray that this guy let go of it and just go, but seeing what he has done, I don’t have much of a hope. Moving from Levonforpresident to payqar domain name for example. “Verjapes” (!!) he understood that elections are over :)

    And by the way, it would be a very interesting new discussion to start about what should be done with Levon? So all the people could tell what they think is the right thing to do?

  2. What is with A1+ anyway. I seem to remember that once upon a time, they were actually an intelligent, professional media organization. What happened?

    As for what to do with LTP. I posed that question to a Yerevan lawyer friend, but have yet to get an answer. Wasn’t what he did against the law? I mean inciting to riot is illegal. In some countries I bet it’s considered treason and punishable by death. Obviously, it’s a little ironic to point out that LTP broke the law and should be punished when the entire election was flawed…. Nevertheless, I do believe that what LTP did post-election was criminal. It’s one thing for the people to be upset that their votes were stolen again and to demand justice; it’s quite another to seemingly morph into LTP’s cult followers demanding the overthrow of the government at any cost. Can you seen any government anywhere allowing that type of behavior to go on indefinitely? I don’t think so.

    I just don’t get it….

  3. Levon should be arrested – however, if the authorities try it now, that will become yet another stupid move, because he’ll be turned into a martyr.

  4. Armen You are a Fool and a Coward,

    You are a fool to besmeerch the thousands who showed up not to supprt LTP but to ask that all those who died be remembered in our prayers and to ask for national healing. You are a coward for not expressing your ugly comments in front of those whose loved ones were injured or died on March 1st. Either way YOU are the loser not the people.

  5. First of all Ramik, let’s not confuse issues. We should all sincerely express condolences for the dead. Frankly, I am glad at the wisdom of our people: The hundreds of thousands who did not run to support LTP because there was “no one better.” LTP has nothing left to do, he accomplished his mission: to divide the nation as best he can. First attempt was the emigration (which he and his closest allies referred to as a positive phenomenon in the 90s) and now the attempt to split people along loyalty lines. Thankfully, it will not work.

    Pray for peace, pray for the dead, and pray for all living to learn from the mistakes made on all sides so that in 4 years our elections can reflect all hard work done by authorities and opposition alike.

  6. Pomegranate – good point re: A1+. They have become a caricature of a media outlet, now so loyal lapdog to their funding masters. And the worst of it, is they are the ones complaining about literacy and bias in the state media (which I admit is quite poor in its own right). A1+ has relegated itself to the hysterical discredited status of Pashinyan and others who showed their true colors over the past few weeks (months?).

    Time for the opposition to develop media outlets that are something more than hate-journalism or humor for the cynical.

  7. Time for the opposition to develop media outlets that are something more than hate-journalism or humor for the cynical.

    Time for us to have a media that is professional, objective and independent from direct partisan politics on both sides. We need media outlets to show some responsibility for what they report. Let opinion pieces be aired through editorials, but not through pretty much every article or report.

    Anyway, A1 Plus was predictable, but still a valuable source of pro-opposition information when it was accessible. However, RFE/RL were the major disappointment and started banging the drum for Ter-Petrossian as soon as he appeared in September. No wonder one of his first meetings was with its reporters.

    Armenia Now was the best source, I think, and mainly because its staff were divided along political lines — there were those linked to Nikol Pashinian and those linked to Vazgen Manukian. Along with a more professional approach to journalism this created some kind of balance for most of the time.

    However, overall the media and civil society became too politicized and unprofessional in its activities. Actually, they became part of the fight and took sides. Such a situation is regrettable and needs to change.

  8. I suggest that instead of lighting candles and wasting flowers, Levonakaner plant trees as a sign of protest.
    At least, for once, they can do something constructive.

  9. Agreed with Observer: Arresting LTP will make him martyr.
    Allthough I dont really understand what for to arrest him for. I’ve saw a lot of posts and public speeches regarding that “LTP calls for revolution” or “he calls to destroy existing statehood”. I”ve spend sometime watching his DVDs, but was unable to find it. Instead there were some sentences about “destroying of cleptocraty”, “mongols”, “avazakapetutyun”. Seems he call to destroy that. And it doesnt nescessarily have anything in common with Armenian statehood. And here is a strange thing, state leaders instead of position themselves far from that, start using public media, blaming him for “calls to destroy Armenian state”. Which mean in turn that they are signing under his words about “avazakapetutyun” and that they assotiate his words with themselves.
    Recent developments with GALA, shows that it is exact “avazakapetutyun”. Nothing else.
    Agree with Onnik regarding ArmeniaNow. I think any professional media outlet should try to create multi-opinion environment, to keep itself objective, else it will become H1 or A1Plus.

  10. well – telling police to disobey orders is a call against state order, because police are supposed to represent the state. That is one of the offences against LTP, although our police and their commanders are such morons, that I can’t really blame him, however that is reason enough to arrest him.

  11. Mathisking, You stated “I’ve spend sometime watching his DVDs,” I think we could spend some time listening to his unedited call to arms from the Opera Circus, and not just his DVD output from his well oiled propaganda machine.

    “Instead there were some sentences about “destroying of cleptocraty”, “mongols”, “avazakapetutyun”.”

    Even this much is probably enough to warrant criminal charges. I have previously posted excerpts from the Armenian Criminal Code, Electoral Code, and the Constitution about hate-mongering, racism, and such invective-laden speech.

    Combine just this much with the call from Pashinyan (directive from LTP) for soldiers to join the attack on the state, and clals for police/soldiers to not serve, and you have more than enough.

    Whether or not it is politically wise to arrest him, I cannot say. But from the legal and moral standpoint, I think there is more than enough grounds.

  12. I am sure that DVDs were not edited. And according to you “fight with corruption” is same call for criminal action. Could you post call from Pashinyan? Is that doable?

  13. The following video sums up the present day Armenian authorities (comments of Rafael Ghazarian made after Jirayr Sefilian’s trial):

  14. Ramik,

    > the thousands who showed up not to supprt LTP but to

    Exactly! You’ve noticed what I was originally saying. But you’re still confusing who’s in fact dishonoring the memory of that unfortunate day. Actually Levon and his supporters who are trying to gain politically abusing memory of the dead are dishonoring the event and the dead, they are trying to profit from it. They are the ones who should be ashamed of holding the photos of people and ‘shahagortzel’ the situation. Of course there were honest people who were sincerely there for mourning, but there were *others* there *also* who were there for taking advantage of the situation. I really hope all those sincere people (including you) will soon notice the dirty game Levon is playing and stop supporting him for the sake of our country.

  15. You know, I was thinking about this issue. That is, the opposition using the deaths of those that died for political gain and that was my immediate reaction. However, in retrospect, it was mainly their guys that got killed so it’s only natural they would mourn them.

    On the other hand, someone — admittedly anti-Levon — pointed out to me that the main purpose of the 1 March action was to highlight those currently under arrest and NOT the dead. That strikes me as inappropriate to say the least. It might also explain why turnout was so low — 1-2,000 according to most estimates.

    Instead, I would have liked to have seen an action only to remember those that died separate from the “political prisoners” thing and also to acknowledge that both demonstrators AND police were killed or injured. Still, apart from the prisoner photos, the candles and laying of flowers was appropriate.

    So, it was definitely an opposition protest dressed up as something non-political, but that’s what we’re going to see more of in the coming days and weeks, I think. And whether that’s right or not depends on whether you view Ter-Petrossian as the leader of a political group attempting to come to power or of a pro-democracy movement.

    For now, though, I don’t think many people see him as leader of the latter and if things are to continue I would like to see the movement transform itself into a broad-based one representing many different political persuasions. Indeed, I still think that a genuine movement would be critical of BOTH the radical opposition and the government.

    Not sure if that can happen in a country such as Armenia, but it would be one positive thing to happen if it did. Let’s hope.

  16. Onnik – I see that happening only once (and of course, if) anyone in the protest movement denounces, and strongly, the demagoguery and hijacking of the democracy-building effort by LTP. Saying that “this is not about LTP” misses the whole point. Most Armenians are wary (and right they should be) about following a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    I believe in the people, and think that a true opposition with real leaders who believe in a better Armenia will come forth. Glad that the current abortion is being revealed for what it is: many well intentioned idealists being walked off a cliff by leaders with evil intent.

  17. Fortunately (in this particular case) or unfortunately (overall, because having smart politicians would have been good for our country) Levon was not smart enough (again) and played it too greedy (again!) which costed him losing some of the current and some potential supporters and sympathizers. Otherwise he would have stressed that there shouldn’t be *any* indication of people under arrest, strictly *nothing* related to political figures, only commemorating the dead (including police officer(s)) and lighting candles. Just consider the scenario, ‘no one’ could tell *for sure* if -it was an honest move- OR – was it politically motivated to gain sympathizers (and keep the supporters that he already has). Actually by what he did he just proved the opposite! He just did what he should not have done (maybe it’s his habit!):

    – now he can be blamed that though *not all* but *certainly some* of the protesters out there were politically motivated and beneficial and Levon and the mentioned *some* tried to gain from the situation (otherwise they would act as the rest of the group who didn’t carry photos of political figures, actually saying “it’s not about politics, it’s about innocent people”). His move leaves a lot of space for just criticism while the other move wouldn’t allow *any* criticism and might have drawn admiration too.

    Then again maybe we were lucky he wasn’t that “khoramank”, actually if he was that foxy his tactics would have been totally different from the beginning. He is a master of miscalculations! Who knows maybe this way it’s better for Armenia, one contantly miscalculating and potentially dangerous ‘would be leader’ hopefully is out of the scene.

    And Onnik, you are right that would be great, but I guess considering the given situation we all should commemorate the people in our hearts, they were the sons of Armenia, brothers to us. It was a devastating and sad incident indeed.

  18. some people simply don’t want to face the reality.
    People who still see Levon as the root of all evil are left in 1996.
    People, wake up!
    SS has surpassed everything that Levon has ever done.
    Just compare the scale of repressions and the numbers of the victims after 1996 and
    now.
    Serzhik has passed a law, which basically bans all kinds of meetings or demonstrations, turning Armenia into a new Belorussia.
    Regarding Karabakh and Turkey, SS’s position is absolutely not different from Levon’s, the only difference is that Levon says Karabakh needs to be part of negotiations and Serzhik doesn’t.
    But to admit that means to challenge good old comfortable ways of thinking that you are so used to.
    to you everything is black and white
    Levon – black, everything which is against Levon – white.
    I got news for you: the world is more complicated than that!

  19. Levon – black, everything which is against Levon – white.
    I got news for you: the world is more complicated than that!

    Sure it is, why many more people believe that the situation isn’t Serge=black, Levon=white. As for the situation in place now, I lay the blame on the radical opposition as well as the authorities. That’s the real world and not one of “democratic revolutions” no matter how much opposition-linked NGOs and media organizations try to make it out to be.

  20. Incidentally, what I’d like to see is a GENUINE pro-democracy movement that represents the concerns of the masses — that is, one that seeks change from a government which has not taken them into consideration and for the radical opposition to stop trying to destabilize the situation in the country so they can come to power at any cost.

  21. Agreed Onnik. That is why I think a revolution has to be FOR something, just not AGAINST others. And vart, be careful with your revisionist history. Serj hasn’t passed any laws: the parliament has. And as far as victims in society, again, not clear. The number of political assassinations/ repression/ media closures/ fear in society were pretty scary in the mid 90s. And not at all clear to me that the authorities have more responsibility in the 8 deaths than the coup organizers.

    Just for the sake of “another perspective”: LTP has appeared front/center 2 times in the last 15 years in Armenian politics. Both times, tanks were brought into the streets and force has been used. Coincidence?

  22. Well, if a revolution has the support of the majority of people then it doesn’t matter whether its for or against anything. We can agree or disagree with those aims and objectives but a popular mass movement — even one that is politically partisan — is valid in reflecting the will of the people.

    However, that DOESN’T exist at the moment. Most Armenians don’t care about Levon’s attempt to dress up continued attempts to come to power as a non-partisan civil movement (actually organized by his team) and they certainly don’t want to see more hatred spread by him against a government that is not going to cave in and which can only lead to new violence.

    The people are the victims here and in the past 17 years of independence, Levon Ter-Petrossian, Robert Kocharian and Serge Sargsyan are responsible. What’s the solution? Well, for one, evolved democratization and not a coup d’etat which would see the old elite replace the new one, and many of the same people responsible for the situation merely switch sides and perpetuate the system some more.

    Both sides are hypocritical and need to compromise. On the one hand, Ter-Petrossian has to move on and not aggravate the situation while Sargsyan needs to now seriously deal with many outstanding problems created by the first president which continued under the second. Civil society and the media also needs to become more responsible and independent from either.

  23. Ամենաթարմ անեկդոտը:
    Ոստիկանները կանգնեցնում են շրջանից եկող մեքենան`հարցնելով
    -Էս ուր եք գնում,միտինգի?
    -Չե,ցավներդ տանեմ,Արթուրիկի կարմիր խնձորն ենք տանում:)))

    Քայլելու ենք!

    looooooooooool

  24. At AH
    The majority in the parliament are the elephants and there comes the Bargavach Hayastan, Dashanktyutyun, Orinac Erkir and Zharangutyun. Only Zharangutyun voted against the bill, while all the others in the coalition did for it. What does this tell you?? When you put the basic fact that PM cant run for President while in office, and CC denies your claim, I think it tells everything about a government.. Its corrupt, Its too stupid to coverup its own mess, and its too obvious that its surrounded by oligarchs.. And some may say Levon is this, Levon is that, but he is the one who has most experiance, higher than all those politicians put together and this coalition is just a matter of TIme, as it is gonna split and dissappear. And Russia doesnt solve anything nowadays, It may have been years ago, but not anymore. Russia does everything in its power to make turkey to reopen the borders, which will mean bye bye to its military base. There is too much dirty politics going around, but with conquering Karaback, I see Armenia suffering more than Karabagh itself, having in mind the unrecognized state… So, its just a matter of time before Serzh either resigns or gets assasinated … This is the only way i see the solution to the problem. I mean, we saw the same thing happening in 1996, and what did Levon do?? They made him resign…. Lets just wait, patience is all we have.

  25. NOR: “PM cant run for President while in office”

    This is incorrect. In Armenia (as in every country I can think of; pls provide one counter example) the PM is allowed to run. This is a willful attempt to muddy the waters.

    “This is the only way i see the solution to the problem.”

    Sorry, NOR, but I believe in democracy, not coups, assassinations and forced resignations. Your dreams may come true re: Serj, but the reality is that now (with the coalition), the existing government has a moral authority (Serj’s votes + Artur’s + ARF by any reasonable estimate is >50%) to rule in Armenia. Respecting the state, and respecting the state processes (however flawed), my inclination, and thankfully the inclination of most, I believe, is to give the process a chance.

  26. To AH:
    I dont think in voting process is that simple math: 50%+20%=70%.
    I mean if people would know that Baghdasarian is going to join SS he will gain 5% max. So in this case 50%+20%=50%.So i am not sure that coalition have moral authority in that sense. I am sure that the only party with stable electorate is ARFD. Whatever they gain is clearly their votes.

  27. Coalition should be announced before the elections, to make clear to people what should they expect from their candidates. That way they wouldn’t regret about giving their votes to candidate who dresses himself as an opposition and then makes a 180-turn.

    It would be perfect if SS+AB+ARFD+Bargavach had formed a block before the elections and got together 50+%, however for whatever reason they decided to do not that. One possible reason is that they were afraid of loosing votes exactly because of phenomenon, when the result is less than arithmetic sum of variables. I bet if one would conduct a poll about political preferences today, the block would get way less than 50%. So the block is just a cover-up for the deep shit SS got itself now.

  28. Mathisking: I did not say stable electorate (by the way I agree with your analysis and arithmetic). I said moral authority. And I think there is no doubt, like I said above, that the coalition represents a majority of voters.

    As far as coalitions “should” be announced before elections, I agree that lots of things SHOULD happen before elections. However it is very common for coalitions to form, once various groups grab some piece of the pie. As the electorate becomes more sophisticated, they can demand of their candidates lots of pre-election promises, and then hold them to it. Few did, either in opposition (campaigning on hate, vilification of authorities is easy, but not very productive) or authorities did this, unfortunately.

    This can be one of the lessons learned, though I do not share your horror at what happened.

  29. I am not sure that i understand what “the moral authority of coalition” stands for, if most of the people believe that coalition does not represent their opinions on how the state should be run, or how one should conduct the elections, etc.?

  30. I don’t want to get philosophical, but how sure can you (or anyone, or in any society) be that the coalition NO LONGER represents the majority view, given that elections were about 1 month ago.

    What about coalitions that form 1, 2, or 4 years after elections?

    You cannot have a society holding elections once a month to see how the political winds or people’s feelings have changed, even if you could measure it precisely, which obviously, none of us can.

  31. AH: do you read Armenian? Then look at the Electoral Code Article 78.1 on official elections.am website in Armenia

    http://www.elections.am/images/docs/_code.pdf

    which clearly states that the PM can run for President only if he is the acting President.

    By the way the official English translations is available at

    http://www.elections.am/images/docs/elcode.pdf.

    This was discussed in the Constitutional Court, of course, but the Court never explained its stance on the issue, effectively avoiding it.

  32. In our case when elections have been rigged in order to avoid sharing power with any coalition (per RK recommendation), and only when it become clear is society is deeply concerned about elections fraud and post-elections oppressions of basic human rights coalition has been brought up as a last resort for creating illusion of popular support, however this trick is rather obvious for any unbiased person, and makes things less moral if it is possible at all.

  33. HMZ – “From the moment of registration, presidential candidates who are in state service or work in local self-government bodies shall be relieved of their duties at work and shall have no right to make use of the advantages of their position.”

    The Armenian PM is not in state service, as defined by the Armenian civil code. The subsequent verbiage in 78.1 only relates to the case in which the PM or speaker of the parliament is an acting president.

    Thus, the CC ruled correctly, both from a legal as well as common-sense manner.

    LTP purposefully brought this red herring argument up after the elections. It is a misinterpretation of the law, designed to undermine the state process.

  34. To AH:
    Loool, so when there are elections, and they are flawed, u forget to mention the word democracy, but when there is the attempt to assasinate someone, you democracy just stands up… LOL.. dont make me laugh man.. The assasination that I meant wasnt meant directly. more like, he flies and the plane goes down, something like it. And the coalition, yea, i think most of the Armenians living in Armenia do “qmcicaxel” at the idea of making a coalition of people that are the oligarchs of Armenia. I mean, we have an opposition who says “o the current govt is this, is that” and then when having the main opposition asking him to join them, he goes for the current govt. Thats not much of a coalition.. LOL. The head of Dashnaks, Whatever his name is, he is a relative of serge, and Dod, dont even get me started on that idiot, cant even put 2 words together. So, at the end, my conclusion is that the govt that will be formed will go down and the whole thing is gonna crash. I mean, honestly, they ban protests but people still go out there despite knowing the fact that they might get arrested… People have woken up… and As we did learn from Levon’s example, one who sits at the throne like this, With protests and in Serzh’s case, with deaths, will not enjoy it and the only way to make people calm is to GET OUT. No matter how or when, but we will see that happen.

  35. to AH:
    what do u mean didnt abuse the power… LMFAO… Have u watched Haylur?? Isnt that abusing?? Have you watched any other channel in Armenia that show Serzh more than anyone??Why hasnt the opposition been given air time to say its thoughts?? ABUSING THE POWER…. lol.. and when someone takes the whole state budget and spends it on Campaign, that isnt abusing, is it?? ITs called having the power. WOW… And u say relieved of their duties at work, while during his campaign, Serzh received people and made contracts and blah blah blah..and one last thing… Are u honestly that BLIND enough not to notice that there arent any laws in armenia for the ruling elite?? I mean come on.. And as i said, matter of time, and we shall see Serzh get out. Now, he hasnt just gotten a state from another leader, but what he got is equal to a destructed house, which i have a hard time believing will ever be constructed by HIM….

  36. To AH:
    And one more thing…. do u honestly think that Serzh got 53%?? honesly?? LOL… Its so funny.. What kind of people would vote for a person who makes them go to meetings or threatens to mark the people absent if they dont show up, or fire people from their postions?? This is the basic definition of Araj Hayastan…. Araj to Strkutyun…..

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