Armenian opposition “liberates” the Liberty square

Armenian opposition staged a massive rally in Yerevan’s Liberty square for the first time in 3 years, since that key location for political gatherings had been sealed off by the authorities following violent clashes in the Armenian capital back in March 2008.

The authorities had imposed a  3-year-long moratorium on holding opposition rallies in Liberty square, and all efforts of the Armenian National Congress (HAK), the largest opposition force in the country, to enter the square and stage a rally, or even a minor protest action were blocked in the past.

Ahead of tomorrow’s rally HAK supporters had announced on Facebook, that they plan to break into the square.

There was no “break into” however. The police had circled the Liberty square, and there were little confrontations here are there along the line, but following a short negotiation between HAK coordinator Levon Zourabian and the police, the opposition were peacefully let into the square.

Admittedly, another opposition force – Zharangutyun (Heritage) party had “liberated” the square two days ago, as Zharangutyun leader Raffi Hovhannisian staged a hunger strike in the square and created a precedent.

Interestingly, HAK leaders didn’t approach approach Raffi Hovhannisian either before, or after their rally, even though Zharangutyun supporters circling their leader were cheering for HAK and calling for “unity.” Raffi Hovhannisian also wasn’t invited to speak at HAK rally, which seems yet another indication of tensions between the two forces.

Below is the video of how exactly the opposition moved from Matenadaran, where their rally was authorized, to the Liberty square and broke in to stage a second rally in a day.


16 thoughts on “Armenian opposition “liberates” the Liberty square

  1. Shame on HAK for ignoring Raffi after he had essentially kick-started the return to the square.

    • Yeah, I actually had a bitter taste about it.

      Interestingly, when I asked Raffi Hovhannisian right after the rally what he thought of it, he seemed very cool about it. He didn’t want to speak initially, but seeing as we (the RFE/RL crew) are live-streaming the video, he said, it doesn’t matter and he understands. He also emphasized, that although today the opposition leaders didn’t approach him, but many seniour HAK members had come to see him earlier. He named Stepan Demirjian, Aram Sargsian among others.

      He also made a short-touching speech, calling for unity between the Armenian opposition forces: Zharangutyun, HAK and ARF-Dashnaktsutyun.

  2. Observer,

    I’m so glad to see the steps that the people are taking towards a better Armenia. But, I’m still flabbergasted to see who they are following, who they are fighting for. Do they not remember that LTP and his party cut deeper wounds that till this day have not healed? As much as I’m all about the peoples rights, it’s mind boggling to see what they are fighting for. How ironic would it be to have the 1st lady of Armenia not be Armenian, AGAIN!? Do you think that Israel would allow for such a thing? Sad to say, but our people have turned to puppets. They are being manipulated towards a point of no return.

  3. This is politics, Arthur jan. This is PURE politics. Either Raffi admits the power of HAK and admits that HAK and Levon are the most massively supported opposition force in today’s Armenia, or he and Heritage party move fast toward becoming yet another Arturik and OEK. This is the issue.

    Raffi should have approached the stage and announced about joining HAK. He did not do that. No problem for HAK. He goes “va-bank,” and I salute it. But this time it might be too late for him and his party.

    • Yes, but people follow Levon, because he’s not just about PURE politics, but because of his personal charisma. He sounds like a noble man, but when his dids go counter to that – he risks disappointing the romantic bunch of his followers.

      And tell you what – it’s the romantics, who make things happen.

      Disclaimer: I don’t like Levon, I’ve never followed Levon, I’m romantic, but practical enough to see hidden motives. Plus – there are things, that I know and understand, but don’t write, because I have a principle: don’t do harm.

      • Arthur, I partly agree with you, but here’s the trick: Levon has never done any political move based on emotions! Never ever! What comes to followers: rest assured that 99% of the followers will remain loyal to him.

        This is about saving the country, this is about “to be, or not to be,” and romantics has little to do with this. The situation is much more serious, and there’s no room for romantics, believe me.

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  5. Ինչեր ասես թե չեն անի ամբոխները խելագարված…..

    Listen Jesus
    I don’t like what I see
    All I ask is that you listen to me
    And remember
    I’ve been your right hand man all along
    You have set them all on fire
    They think they’ve found the new Messiah
    And they’ll hurt you when they find they’re wrong

    All your followers are blind
    Too much heaven on their minds
    It was beautiful, but now it’s sour
    Yes it’s all gone sour…..

  6. Levon will go down in Armenian history as the first Mafia Boss of the modern Republic of Armenia, who looted and nearly destroyed the country and almost handed NK to the Turks on a silver platter.

    This [edited by moderator] should actually be hung from his balls upside down and paraded in kindergartens to teach kids what a traitor looks like.

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