Armenian Opposition Protest Rally Dispersed

The phone call from a Ter-Petrossian supporter woke me up today at 7.44. “They came, crushed and dispersed the rally she said. Warn the journalists”. So I did. At the moment the Echannel journalist is still at the Liberty square. I’ll be going down too. Will update this post as soon as there’s more news.

34 thoughts on “Armenian Opposition Protest Rally Dispersed

  1. Reply
    Artak - 01.03.2008

    I just have spoken with my relatives in Armenia. The tanks were brought to the center of the city after midnight, and when the attack started on the rally, they clearly heard gunshots. My relatives work close to the Liberty Square, and they witnessed brutality against the people sleeping in the tents. Around 8:00 AM people were fighting with soldiers close to the Circus area. (Guys, if you have more info through phone calls, post it here and in English, if possible, so anyone can understand).

  2. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 01.03.2008

    Tanks or BMPs? Soldiers or Riot police? Shots or gas grenades? International press reports say police. PanArmenian.Net says so too, but adds that rubber bullets were used. One supposes tear gas was too, but no information is available. I’d also like to know whether they were requested to leave immediately before the dispersal as would be customary before any dispersal and should have happened this morning. If it didn’t, this should be reported as soon as possible.

  3. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 01.03.2008

    ArmInfo and Mediamax report Ministry of Interior not Army. Ter-Petrossian’s team also says police. Please, let’s use the right terms during the course of today’s events because I’m sure there will be many more incidents and now is not the time for inaccuracies, emotional reporting by journalists or rumors. We need facts and objective reporting especially as there are apparently plans for a rally at 3pm and one can only suppose that this time it will not be allowed.

  4. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 01.03.2008

    ArmeniaNow has comprehensive reports from the scene of today’s dispersal of the opposition occupation of Yerevan’s Liberty Square in protest at the 19 February presidential election in Armenia. According to one report plans to disperse the makeshift camp were known to protesters at 5am, some two hours before the police operation began.
    At 6am, police could be seen moving in to position. Ter-Petrossian reportedly requested demonstrators to remain calm, but ArmeniaNow says that some started to “take up rocks and sticks” before police moved in to the area. One opposition supporter and member of Ter-Petrossian’s campaign team, Aramazd Ghalamkaryan (Manukyan), gives another account of events, however.
    http://www.armenianow.com

  5. Reply
    Armen - 01.03.2008

    It seems once again A1+ is targeted by police,if true this is totally unacceptable.

  6. Reply
    Observer - 01.03.2008

    just drove past the French embassy. riot police everywhere, demonstrators gathered in front of the embassy, police trying to break up the gathering. more people coming from everywhere. some throwing rocks at the police.

  7. Reply
    David - 01.03.2008

    Onnik,
    are you not misinterpreting what the ArmeniaNow report says? Read it carefully—it doesn’t say “plans to disperse the camp were known”. It says:
    People who were on the scene at Liberty Square have told ArmeniaNow that at about 5 a.m. news stirred in the camp that an action by law enforcement was imminent.
    Do you see the difference?

  8. Reply
    David - 01.03.2008

    HetqOnline (www.hetq.am) is also impossible to get to… Anyone else is having similar problems?

  9. Reply
    Observer - 01.03.2008

    Armen – I just called a friend at A1PLUS – there has been no police attack on it. police have closed the roads leading to their building for a wile, then left.

  10. Reply
    Observer - 01.03.2008

    I think Hetq server is overwhelmed by too many visitors, or it might be a DOS attack.

  11. Reply
    Archuk Arshakuni - 01.03.2008

    And again, everyone is appealing to international organisations and embassies. When is this nation is going to realise that if you don’t help yourself noone is going to help you? They simply couldn’t care less if a few people had their skulls split open. I’m sure Robert and Serzh made the prearrangements and promised to use reasonable force with no fatalities. They don’t need martyrs themselves.

  12. Reply
    Hayk - 01.03.2008

    [deleted by administrator for obscenity] Archuk
    You will always be Archuk for your
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity].
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity] no matter what is the reason, armenian police is raisin hand on Armenian people.
    I will
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity] all of you who support this riots, I am serious and let meet somewhere
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity], I do not have time to debate with you anymore

  13. Reply
    David - 01.03.2008

    People should indeed rise and put an end to this tyranny….enough is enhough. Anyone is getting any first-hand accounts from the French Embassy of elsewhere?
    Here is an I-Report post (scroll down to read the first entry):
    http://www.pf-armenia.org/i-report/

  14. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 01.03.2008

    Apologies, the PanArmenian.Net report I mentioned above did not say rubber bullets were used, but rather rubber batons. Hard to say which they meant though.
    David,
    I assume the Policy Forum Armenia means you kick-started another think-tank after leaving AIPRG? Members seem to include some of the guys from AIPRG who I assume also left.
    Anyway, first I’ve heard of the site, but will keep an eye on it.

  15. Reply
    Hayk - 01.03.2008

    AIPRG is not important. Onnik, you think it is time to figure out who left AIPRG and who not?
    Some of AIPRG members are JAILAMS form Central Bank, and ministry of Economic developmet. Is this enough for you?
    Those who truly belive that this uprising should win, should be on the streets now. Unfortunately, I cannot now, but in a week I will be there, and I will not waste my time here with JAILAMS, like you.
    What the
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity] are you talking abouit now? Who left AIPRG and who is going to create new think-thank.
    May be this David is another guy, not from Maryland. Even if he is the David you are talking about, he right that the people should rise now.
    ONNIK, you discovered your face by asking not relevant question, you are perfectionist JAILAM
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity].

  16. Reply
    Archuk Arshakuni - 01.03.2008

    Artur, can you please moderate the comments.

  17. Reply
    AH - 01.03.2008

    Hayk – I know we disagree on our outlook and opinions, but please let’s all discuss these issues politely. Let’s assume that we are all interested in more or less the same goals (a freer and more prosperous Armenia) and even if we disagree on how to get there, let’s not reduce this to a swear-fest shouting match.
    Unfortunately we are witnessing the natural endgame to a difficult election season. Let’s hope it does not further devolve.

  18. Reply
    David - 01.03.2008

    AH,
    this is not an endgame, not according to people gathered in front of the French Embassy (a couple of whom I am talking on the phone).
    The local police is showing some signs of remorse, saying that those who bit up the people were the special forces from NLR….this would be very unfortunate, if true.

  19. Reply
    David - 01.03.2008

    …and definitely not according to LTP:
    http://www.lragir.am/src/index.php?lang=arm#top

  20. Reply
    Hayk - 01.03.2008

    To AH
    Let’s discuss. I see you are constructive now. Let’s discuss, but what to discuss? I called or my frineds, my father, my brother to go to join protestors. We have to stand up people.
    This time I do not think anybody will not agree that our nations deserves dignity, and we rae not slaves in hand 2 people, who usurped the authority.
    In fact, I my friend told me, that one of the high ranking oficcials from the government joined to protesters with his son. You see that this not about Serge or LTP anymore. There is no LTP in the crowd, people gathered themself.

  21. Reply
    Archuk Arshakuni - 01.03.2008

    I simply cannot believe the Machiavellian policies of Levon. He knew this was going to happen. Now he counts on simpacy on behalf of all these innocent people being beaten up in the street to raise the the rest of the population on their feet. He masterfully managed to keep people in Opera long enough to trigger Kocharyan’s reaction. All his speeches, dancing and singing, he did everything possible to make this happen. We have two very strong politicians against each other, strategists who have been planning their actions,trying to outsmart the opposite side.
    Kocharyan knew that this is exactly what Levon wanted all along, so he has been taking precautions since day one. It’s a shame that the only two great politicians we have are against each other and not together, but as we know great minds are jealous.
    Now, it is the critical point. If Levon does stand a chance and has the support he’s claiming to have, we should see things happening in the nearest hours. If he does have army or police support it’s going to be known soon. I put their chances 60/40 in favour of the current regime and pray for the people in the streets.

  22. Reply
    Archuk Arshakuni - 01.03.2008

    Just to add to this, the families of many high profile participants of the protests like Suren Abrahamyan have been taken out of the country days ago. They did know what was coming.

  23. Reply
    Hayk - 01.03.2008

    To Archuk
    Few days ago you were cursing Levon, now you are saying 2 great politicians? Who is the second? Criminal Kocharian?
    Unfortunately, I cannot be in Yerevan now, but my battle is against you
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity] ARCHUK, or other JILAMS.
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity] all. You put 60/40 % on Kocharian or Levon? Is this your level? And after this your pray for people? Go
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity]. You just do not understand what is going on. You are sitting in your appartments and making bets on Kocharian or Levon.
    [deleted by administrator for obscenity], that is all, I cannot say anything less or more

  24. Reply
    AH - 01.03.2008

    Eloquent, Hayk.

  25. Reply
    Observer - 01.03.2008

    Hayk – I’m the only one who’s been on the site of the events today. I wasn’t scared then – I wasn’t a jailam then, but I am now. I don’t want to be a martyr to a cause, which I don’t beleive in. What a hell are you saying – why are you accusing people of not sharing your viewpoint? What kind of a lousy attitude is this anyway?
    I don’t want Levon – and that is my right. You don’t want Serzh – and that is your right. Why do you have to make sure I think exactly like you? Why are you getting offensive?

  26. Reply
    Hayk - 01.03.2008

    Observer
    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

  27. Reply
    allen - 01.03.2008

    Hayk, if this means so much to you, why dont you get your ass back to Armenia and join the protests, instead of insulting those who arn’t there.
    How can people take you seriously as someone who cares for his people and is in pain b/c of their struggle, when you sit here day after day and treat “your people” like garbage?

  28. Reply
    Onnik Krikorian - 01.03.2008

    David, I see no sign of the police showing remorse. Indeed, last I saw on Republic Square, semi-automatic weapons were being handed out. Are we still in the world where Ter-Petrossian’s supporters say the KGB and police are on their side even when they attack?
    Hayk, don’t tell me what I can and cannot say. Firstly, you have no right to attack freedom of speech, and secondly, as the site in question looks pretty pro-Ter-Petrossian it’s related as to who and what it is. And btw: it IS the same David.
    Anyway, once again, I need to ask for people to respect each other otherwise there is nothing connected to democracy in these events at all. I’d also say we need some clarity because as I see it, the next clash is going to be very bloody indeed and Ter-Petrossian doesn’t have the numbers to resist.
    That’s the impression I got when I left the rally 40 minutes ago. They’ve barricaded the roads with buses and smashed up police jeeps, and guys have armed themselves with metal rods. Like I said, on Republic Square I saw police being armed with semi-automatics.

  29. Reply
    AH - 01.03.2008

    David – With all due respect to the people in front of the French Embassy, this “movement” has degenerated cult-worshiping clan mentality. Quoting them is like quoting some police chief ordering an attack to “suppress hooligans.” Two sides of the same counterfeit coin.
    Pro-opposition media has been churning out lie after lie after disinformation after disinformation. Not that I find much solace in the pro government media, but at least they are not wrapping their lies with the flag of truth, honest media, and other happy horse-$%^.
    Levon ratcheted up the rhetoric to the point that there had to be violence. Not that I blame only them for it, but the question at the end of this will be: Doesn’t Levon have blood on his hands (again), at least in part?

  30. Reply
    AH - 01.03.2008

    With all due respect to the people in front of the French Embassy, this “movement” has degenerated **into a** cult-worshiping clan mentality.

  31. Reply
    David - 01.03.2008

    Onnik,
    you have no right (or credibility, for that matter) to pigeonhole anyone, much less a large group of professionals, in the name of freedom of speech. How about trying “pro-people”, or “pro-freedom”, instead of “pro-LTP”? Is that too much for your imagination? As you sensed, I don’t like being labeled. And I am sorry to see that your views have seriously degenerated towards more pro-SS since the last time we communicated.

  32. Reply
    AH - 01.03.2008

    Pro-freedom? David, please. I will not label you, but pro-freedom requires a leap of my imagination. It has nothing to do with pro-LTP or pro-SS. Call it like it is:
    The crowds which have gathered are pro-LTP. That doesn’t seem like a judgment or a pigeon-hole to me. Those in the crowd are happy to be called as such.
    LTP has successfully led the people to the edge of a cliff. And it seems that the authorities are ready to help LTP push them over. Again, the followers suffer, while Levon can earn himself another well-paid 10 year vacation. Deja vu.

  33. Reply
    Observer - 01.03.2008

    Guys – I just came back from the site of riots – with lots of photos and video. Will gather my thoughts and do a post in 5-10 minutes.

  34. Reply
    [email protected] - 06.03.2008

    I am reading the comment and wondering what is going on here? Why is it so difficult to see what has happened. There were the people, EXTREMELY peacefully demonstrating people who wanted to defend their votes, the votes of majority (regardless to whom they were given) from one side, and the power, force, authorities–whatever you prefer–from the other. Are you from another planet and do not know how the “elections” were conducted? How can you equally blame both sides? Reading most of the comments here, one may think that it is sin to attempt to live with dignity, in a more democratic society and state. Does anyone here have a better idea of what people should have done do reach that goal except voting and then defending their votes peacefully and within the legislation? This is at least the third time that people of Armenia (that is–the majority of people) elect somebody and somebody else takes the power. Or, may be, people of Armenia do not deserve normal lives and only more superior creatures do?
    And, by the way, I would really try to understand, if explained and if my mental capacity allows, what makes some of you think about Qocharyan as a “great politician”.

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