Aghvan Hovsepyan gives details of March 1 deaths

E-channel reports some details of the meeting of Peter Semnebi, the special representative of the European Union in South Caucasus with RA General prosecutor Aghvan Hovsepyan, who has told during the conversation that “8 people have died as a result of the disorders, 1 of them – a policeman – from an explosion of a grenade; 3 have died as a result of the special means applied (according to the initial conclusion of the experts); 4 have died of injuries caused by gunshot wounds. The bullets taken out of the bodies have various calibers, which allows to say that various types of arms have been used during disorders, and the preliminary investigation faces the task of revealing all those circumstances. 265 people have been injured, 210 of them being police officers. 68 cars have been set on fire, 10 objects of private property have been destroyed and robbed, including a pharmacy.”
The prosecutor has also informed Semnebi that “all the arrested and detained persons have been subjected to medical examination while being taken to location for keeping the arrested persons, as well as to criminal executive institutions, and all their injuries have been registered. 12 accused persons have been registered to have injuries, and expertise has been appointed in order to find out how they had been caused.”

Levon Ter-Petrossian. “They will not be able to manage this society”

On March 11 Levon Ter-Petrossian met with the reporters. Based on the post-electoral tradition, this meeting as well took place at the first president’s house that is still being controlled by the special guards’ forces. Ter-Petrossian covered the Constitutional Court decision. He reminded the details of his speech at the Constitutional Court trial, drawing the attention of the court to two legal issues.

The first was about the article 78.1 of the Electoral Code, according to which the prime minister could be registered as a presidential candidate only in one case – if he had the status of an acting president of Armenia.The second issue was about the article 53.1 of the Constitution, according to which “during martial law or state of emergency no elections of the President of the Republic shall be held.” According to Ter-Petrossian, CC was obligated to express its attitude concerning these two issues, reaching a certain conclusion, which, however, did not happen.“This means one thing – the Constitutional Court avoided covering the most objectionable grounds putting the legitimacy of the past elections under question, in order not to face a legal dead-end or turning up in an awkward state,” Ter-Petrossian announced.

Today Ter-Petrossian has also received the refusal of the city administration, in response to his application to get permission for organizing a rally at the Freedom Square on March 21. He said they would continue applying to get permissions for the following days, too, although he did not exclude that, up to April 9, the authorities would try not to permit conducting any mass event.“For 5 months, there have been no infringements on our behalf; no incidents have been registered during numerous rallies and gatherings. Did anything happen to change the people in one day? The following thing happened – the authorities applied truncheons against the people, and an unmanageable situation was created. However, I am sure that the situation was being wonderfully managed by the authorities,” Levon Ter-Petrossian said.

He covered the future actions, saying that “we have never gone for non-political tension to date, and are not going to. They are going to fight by all the legal means – civilized, clear, and uncompromising. According to the first president, “70 percent of AAM board, all the leaders of the territorial headquarters, most members of the central headquarters are arrested.” But the mass arrests and the happened events make the authorities more anxious, according to the first president, “A lot of blood has been shed. The authorities feel responsibility for that. OSCE/ODIHR has presented a very strict assessment. There has never been a stricter report after 1995. These are phenomena that cannot be ignored.”Ter-Petrossian once more emphasized that today we have another society – society that “is different from what we had 5 months ago.” It will be difficult to manage this society in conditions of such a lack of legitimacy of the authorities.According to Ter-Petrossian, the authorities talk about the necessity of a dialogue but “they do everything to disrupt that possibility, with all their steps contributing to a tenser situation.” Ter-Petrossian repeated his approach that he had presented at the Constitutional Court –taking the suggestions of the European Union statement as a basis and turning them into a plan of actions. The European Union had offered to stop the state of emergency, release the arrested people, eliminate the restrictions of the media activities and implement an independent investigation of the incidents on March 1. According to Ter-Petrossian, the acceptance of these offers can become a full-fledged basis for negotiations and a dialogue.

59 People charged for "organizing mass disorder"

The RA special investigating body has issued information, according to which as a result of mass violence on March 1, 180 police officers and military servicemen have received variuos degrees of phisical injuries. According to the official data, phisical injuries of also 48 citizens have been confirmed so far. From what I remember, many people avoided going to hospitals, fearing, that they would be seized by the police, hence, such a low number of injuries among civilians being reported. According to official information, at the moment 59 people have been charged for “organizing mass disorder”.

Of the 4 MPs, who were charged with the offence of “organizing mass disorder”, 2 have been detained: Myasnik Malkhasyan and Hakob Hakobyan (Lady Hakob), while the two others: Khachatur Suqiasyan (Grzo) and Sasun Mikayelyan, are wanted. Bekaisa also reported, that Alexandr Arzumnayan, head of Levon Ter-Petrossian’s electoral team has been detained. With the constitution court rulling on March 8th effectively ending the electoral process in Armenia, the presidential candidate Levon Ter-Petrossian has also lost the immunity granted by his status as a presidential candidate and can be detained any moment. It is true, that as a former president, Ter-Petrossian has certain privilages too, however, according to article 56.1 of the RA Constitution:

The President of the Republic shall be immune.
The President of the Republic may not be prosecuted or held liable for actions arising from his/her status during and after his/her term of office.
The President of the Republic may be prosecuted for the actions not connected with his or her status after the expiration of his/her term of office.

So, as we can see, arrests and political persecutions continue. I’m sure, in some cases, the law enforcement bodies are quite right to do so – and I’m sure, that arresting most of the “yerkrapahs” is probably justified. However, as of now, no generals, commanders, police or servicemen seem to have been charged with illegal activities for their actions on March 1-2, nor has any high ranking official stepped down for incompetent handling of the rioters, which resulted in 8 deaths and around 200 seriously injured people. Well, what did we expect from a police state, which Armenia is turning into, anyway?

Armenian government making first steps for reconcilliation?

President Kocharyan has signed a decree today, lifting 2 restrictions out of 9, under point 4 of the State of Emergency decree. Hence, the following two restrictions are no longer applicable: 1)Temporary suspension of the activities of political parties and other nongovernmental organizations obstructing the removal of the circumstances serving as a basis for the declaration of the state of emergency. 2) Expulsion of individuals who break the regime of the state of emergency and not residing in a given territory at the expense of their means, and if they don’t have means – at the expense of the means of the Republic of Armenia state budget on the condition of the further return of the expenses made.
2. Serzh Sargsyan continues to play the good guy – restating his willingness to cooperate, discuss, etc. The newly elected president has also decided to set up his own blogs and take questions from everyone. The official blog for Serzh Sargsyan created especially for this purpose runs the following announcement:

On March 13, the RA Prime Minister, newly elected president Serzh Sargsyan will be responding to the questions of the citizens. You can send your questions via the following internet sites:
www.serzhsargsyan.am
www.panorama.am
http://serzhsargsyan.livejournal.com
Alternatively, you can ask your qeustions calling 080099999 phone number. The qesutions weill be accepted from March 11, starting from 10.00 o’clock, till March 12th, 21.00 o’clock.

Given the amount of tensions, suspicion and gossip in the society, this move is more then welcome, and due credit should be given to Serzh Sargsyan for attempting it. However, it remains to be seen, if the new president will indeed be prepared to face the really tough questions.
3. Other then the two positive steps mentioned above, govenment is doing little to help discharge the situation. Persecution of opposition activists continues, along with total media control and policy of disseminting state propaganda and lies.

The Electoral Process Ended in Armenia. Serzh Sargsyan is The President.

The Presidential election process has finally ended in Armenia – Serzh Sargsyan is now officially president and all legal means to challange this fact are now exhausted. The Constitutional Court rulling on March 8th rejected the appeals by the presidential candidates Levon Ter-Petrossian and Tigran Karapetyan, demanding for invalidating the results of the February 19, 2008 Presidential elections and calling new elections. It is true, that the hearings were held under a state of emergency situation in the country, and severe information blockade was also one of the factors, hindering the proper investigation and fact collection process. However, under current state of affairs, there had to be some sort of a rulling, and so we have it. In fact, the concerns about the legitimacy of the newly elected President, Serzh Sargsyan can be discarded quite easily. We are the type of society, which will accept him as president, despite the forged elections – and will nicely obey, and condemn those restless souls who keep fighting. Well – we are now a very weak and divided society. We have a weak president, weakened foreign minstry, security forces, etc. Repressions have been triggered, and it is hard to beleive, that the government will be ready to give back the rights taken away from the citizens even after the state of emergency is lifted.
The question now is not – who to blame, who started, etc. The problem is – where we are now, and where do we go from here?

Days of mourning for the dead

Since Armenian government did not declare State of Mourning for people who died as a result of 1st March bloodshed in Yerevan, a group of Internet activists suggested declaring 7, 8 and 9 March a STATE of MOURNING in the Internet. The Ditord blogs team joins them.
We, who mourn the deaths of our brothers and sons during the bloodshed in Yerevan on March 1, declare a STATE OF MOURNING in the Internet. Everybody who is for JUSTICE and LIBERTY, please join us!!!!!!!!

Increased Censorship: Radio Liberty Blocked Completely

Starting from today, people in Armenia won’t have access to Radio Liberty even via internet. Having previously blocked some of its domain names, now the Armenia State Security Services have blocked (illegally), also all the .eu, .org and other domain names of Radio Liberty, along with IP addresses of RFE/RLs servers outside of Armenia, so even direct links to its FTP servers with recorded audio files won’t be possible to download. Apparently, the Armenian Security Services have gone completely mad, if they’re trying to control the uncontrollable! Anyway – here’s a link to a web resource, which republishes Radio Liberty materials – http://azathayastan.googlepages.com/.

 

Also in an attempt, to provide some freedom of speech and opportunity to overcome the state of emergency situation, ArmeniaNow.com have launched a blog, where posts from Armenian bloggers are welcomed – it is available at this address: http://www.armenianow.com/blogs/

 

I can’t be too sure, but it seems like Hetq of Investigative Journalists of Armenia and E-channel.am of Internews Armenia seem to ramain, however, coverage on these resources is limited to official information, which is one-sided, to say the least. 

 

Bloody Sunday: 8 People Dead. Names Known. RIP


Police violence in Armenia on March 1st, The Bloody Sunday, as a result of which the tent camp of sleeping protesters in Yerevan’s Liberty square was dispersed, their leader Levon Ter-Petrossian taken under house arrest, stirred emotions, resulted in large scale riots after a spontaneous gathering of opposition and anti-government demonstrators, triggering severe police and military action, deaths of civilians and institution of a state of emergency. Over a hundred people were wounded, among them more then 80 civilians. According to official data from Prosecutor’s Office 8 people died, names are known:

Zakar Hovhannisyan
Hamlet Tadevosyan
Gor Kloyan
David Petrosyan
Tigran Khachatryan
Grigor Gevorgyan
Hovhannes Hovhannisyan
Armen Farmanyan

Rest in Peace My Dear Armenian Brothers!
There are no doubts, that President Robert Kocharyan, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian and his supporters are directly responsible for these deaths, and should publicly apologise for their uncompromising stance and stupidity.
It is also important, that the activities of the military and police are carefully investigated. The incompetent commanders of police and military forces, who, as a result of their inability to control the situation, have become the direct cause of civilian and police deaths, should be duly punished. Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening at this point. The authorities are playing the one sided blame game, taking advantage of total information blockade in the country, and directing their accusations solely against the opposition activists and media.
God forgive them, for blinded and corrupted they are with power!!!

Riots Stopped. Peaople Going Home Leaving Yerevan In A Mess

People are peacefully going home gathered in small groups. An eyewitness said, that Levon Ter-Petrossian had called from his house, where he was sitting under house arrest, and told the protesters to go away, warning, that tanks and military are coming and more serious accidents will happen if people do not obey. Ter-Petrossian has also said, that they will mobilize again in 15 days, after the state of emergency declared today by President Kocharian is lifted, and will continue “demanding justice”.
“Բան չհասկացանք էս ամենից վերջը”(“So we didn’t understand anything in the end”), said a grim looking man in late 40’s.
Minibuses and cars used as barricades were already gone, the trolleybusses and a couple of busses, as well as the overturned and burned police cars could still be seen on both sides of Grigor Lusavorich street, which was the main site of rioting drama today. The riots have stopped for good it seems, leaving Yerevan in a mess… cars burned, shops robbed and we still don’t know how many people have died or are badly injured.

Riots in Yerevan. Protesters and Police Hurt.

Riots in Yerevan. Protesters and police hurt. Grigor Lusavorich street blocked by riot forces. People are carrying metal sticks, bottles filled with burning substance – to be used as hand granades. Busses and other means of transportation have been used to create barricades, blocking all entries to the Grigor Lusavorich street.
Walking on Lusavorich street feels like in war – police are firing in the air. Organized groups of rioters are up on the barricades. Some are carrying hemlets and shields obviously taken away from the riot police.
President Kocharyan has announced a state of emergency for 20 days. It is not curfew, however, gatherings, rallies and meetings are forbidden. Media are limited in their publications only to official information on everything related to internal political situation. We got some descriptions and videos on Echannel here and here . There’s some video footage on http://www.youtube.com/ditord. Also – check out the Armenia Election Monitor 2008, Unzipped for up to date info in English and the Armenian News Blog in Armenian.

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