Municipal authorities banned last week two separate appeals by Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and Armenian National Congress (HAK) to hold rallies in Yerevan’s Liberty Square.
HAK negotiated its way through and held two rallies in the Liberty square on March 17th and April 8th without official permission by Yerevan’s municipality, demonstrating the whole pointlessness of banning protests in this key location for important political gatherings in Armenia. Still, the authorities seem determined to continue blocking rallies from happening here.
On a related note, “168 Zham” newspaper reported recently, that Levon Igitian, a pro-government member of Yerevan’s municipal council, suggested on Friday that the authorities should impose a permanent ban on any political gathering in Liberty Square. “Public events there must only be related to arts because the capital has become … I don’t want to use those words,” Igitian was quoted as saying. The paper said Yerevan Mayor Karen Karapetian replied that he will discuss the legality of such a proposal with lawyers.
To understand the full depth of the problem and paradoxes involved, one has to bear in mind, that historic rallies staged in the highly symbolic Liberty Square in early 90’s resulted in reestablishment of today’s Republic of Armenia. Yet, the square has been sealed off for the opposition for 3 years, following violent clashes in the Armenian capital back in March 2008.
This has become so illogical, that I even started looking for and tweeting alternative explanations. E.g.
PS: Check out this cool Phobia List when you have time!