Armenia’s radical opposition rallied thousands in capital Yerevan on March 1st. The date was set to coincide with the 3rd anniversary of deadly street-violence in the capital after 2008 presidential elections, where 10 people died in clashes between supporters of opposition presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrossian and riot police forces.
More than 10,000 people came to listen to the opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian encouraged by the recent revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia, agitated by the worsened socioeconomic situation in the country and ready for a revolution.
There was also a full-length livestreaming video from the opposition rally, Twitter and Facebook with some (albeit little) activity of the more geeky-politicized crowd findable by the hashtag #1mar.
There was everything, except for a revolution.
Ter-Petrossian cooled the crowd so effectively, that my jaw dropped. Sure, the usual demand of fresh elections and letting out the political prisoners was there. But the resignation demand was downgraded – instead of pushing for President Serzh Sargsian’s resignation, it was the Prime Minister Tigran Sargian and some other less important officials.
Then Ter-Petrossian sent the crowd marching down central Yerevan, lighting candles… and than home, with a promise to return for another rally on March 17.
It was such an effective neutralization of revolutionary moods, that the police and security forces couldn’t even dream of. And done by the great crowd-controller, Ter-Petrossian himself. The man, who can stirr up a revolution from out of nothing… Not that Armenia needs or wants a revolution, especially ahead of fresh Karabakh talks on March 5th and an increasingly hostile Azerbaijan stepping up cease-fire violations on Armenia-Azerbaijan front-line.
Is there a secret coalition-agreement between President Serzh Sargsian and opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian? I have my doubts by now…
Candlelight vigil video from Reporter_Arm with very interesting comments.