Police prevent opposition attempt to stage protest action

Armenian Police prevented the attempt of a group of 20-30 young opposition supporters to hold a protest-action in front of Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission (CEC) “to mark one year of the elections faked on February 19, 2008.” today.

At 14:30 about 30 young oppositionists came up to CEC building, bearing posters and three-colored flags and chanting, “Serzhik, go away!”

The demonstrators had hardly moved for 10 meters when the representatives of law enforcement bodies rushed to tear the posters and leaflets. They tried to arrest some of the demonstrators but failed due to the interference of opposition politicians – Vladimir Karapetyan, Aram Manukyan and Zaruhi Postanjyan (MP).

The opposition is planning to conduct a big rally and a march on March 1, to commemorate the 10 victims of the events of March 1, 2008. Yerevan Municipality has not authorised the rally and the march, although the opposition claims the Municipality has responded to their notification about the event after more than 72 hours defined by RA Law on “Meetings, Raalies, Protests and Demonstrations”, which would technically mean that the rally is authorised.


RFE/RL: Belgian Goes on Hunger Strike in Armenian Capital

Hunger strikes have become a fact of life as of late – nobody seems to pay any attention to them any more. People go in an out of hunger-strikes every day. However, this one story carried by RFE/RL is certainly one of special interest – a 51-year-old citizen of Belgium, Luc Vandevale, who is married to an Armenian and is based in Armenia – working in the construction industry, has gone on an open-ended hunger strike in Yerevan, protesting ‘the presence of political prisoners’ in the country. According to RFE/RL, the Armenian wife of the Belgian hunger-striker is not affiliated with any political party or organization in Armenia. The Belgian himself claims he is a ‘pacifist’ and is not campaigning for any particular force in Armenia, but simply wants to see Armenia as a democratic country.

Luc Vandevale, a 51-year-old builder currently based in Armenia, told RFE/RL he meant his hunger strike in the Armenian capital’s central Northern Avenue as a demand for the release of political prisoners in Armenia.

“It is not acceptable to have political prisoners in a democratic country. It means it is not a democracy,” Vandevale said to RFE/RL in French. “Armenia that represents the Council of Europe must release political prisoners.”

The Belgian said he could not plan for how long he would continue his action, but added that it depended on “the state of democracy in Armenia.”

Clearly this is moral-rising for us – the people concerned with the state of democracy in Armenia. On the other hand, I hope no political dirt comes out of this story, although given the fact, that the state-propaganda have chosen to keep silent, comes to assert, that the Belgian and his wife are indeed genuinely concerned with democracy and are not affiliated with any political force in the country.