In Support of Protesters in Myanmar

Although this post may seem irrelevant to the general content of my blog, I can’t stop myself from posting it. My very good friend from Myanmar/Burma has disappeared from my Gtalk contact list for 2 days now. I have been following the developments with the protest of monks with excitement and anxiety, thinking about how every type of dictatorship, even the type that the Generals possess in Burma is doomed. However, after the main internet connection to Myanman was cut down, I realised in depth, that this is not just some philosophical speculation about the importance of democracy and the fight for freedom. There are human lives at stake, and among them, the life of a friend. Apparently, the Generals have ordered internet to be cut, so the world won’t see how they slaughter the protestors. I don’t think anybody can do much in this situation, however, the message I have posted below came on my Facebook account today, and gave me hope, that there is at least somethings that can be done. I find my duty to disseminate this information, and I pray again for all the wonderful people in Myanmar who are struggling for their freedom, lives and future.
A GLOBAL, COORDINATED DAY OF ACTION!
International day of Action
Contact: Burma Campaign UK
[email protected]
We are marching in solidarity with the monks and ordinary people of Burma who are risking their lives for freedom and democracy.
We appeal to the religious and secular communities across the world not to look the other way while the people of Burma cry out for international support.
Saturday 6th October
12 noon – worldwide
More information to follow
*–URGENT UPDATE–*
From internal source: It is heard that the junta has set a plot to assassinate the most senior venerable monks (Sanga Maha Naryaka) tonight as if it is done by the monks involved in the protest. We still have live contacts in Burma. We are getting reports of a massacre at a temple last night, around 200 monks killed. We will try to confirm this as soon as possible. They are arresting and imprisoning monks- so far over 700 have been arrested. They have raided dozens of monasteries. While the regime is stating only 9 have been killed the number is far closer to 200. They have snipers on tops of buildings to pick of the leaders. They are trying to suppress the violence.
We MUST protest! Continue reading “In Support of Protesters in Myanmar”

Hand's Off Our Liberty!

Representatives of a number of non-governmental organizations and active citizens marched from the Freedom Square to the National Assambley building, demanding Freedom for “Liberty”.
“At all times in our newest history, whenever we were experiencing retreat from democracy, one of the first steps has been stopping the “Liberty” broadcasts\. Today we are again living such times”, – according to the president of the Yerevan Press Club – Boris Navasardyan.
While the protest action by a couple of dozen Radio Liberty supporters was in progress outside the gates of the Parliament, debates continued within – without much progress. Some details have emerged from the discussion, changes have been suggested by the Prosperous Armenia, Republican and “Rule of Law” parties – but as the suggestions from the coalition parties do not change anything substantial in the legislative initiatives, whereas the suggestions of the opposition parties don’t look as if they have a slightest chance, no real change is expected to the situation until tomorrow morning, when the final vote will be held on the government proposed legislation, which in essence is an attempt to deprive Radio Liberty of its current broadcast capacities and audience in Armenia.

Photo and quotes via Echannel.am.

Protest at the Intersection of Baghramyan and Demirchyan Avenues

Following photo-posting from Bekaisa, Anoush Armenia posts about the protest dance held yesterday, “April 12, 2007, around 7:30pm, by a group of about 20 Armenians, who gathered at the intersection of Baghramyan and Demirchyan Avenues, once again facing Parliament, and for just a few minutes ran into the middle the intersection to form a circle and dance.”
The point of the dance was to remind the authorities of the events of “April 12, 2004, when thousands of Armenian citizens filled Baghramyan avenue facing the Parliamentary building, in protest against the fraudulent elections and calling for the President’s resignation. […] Shortly thereafter, the protest was dispersed by irreprehensible, unnecessary and brutal violence by military police.” (Anoush Armenia) Continue reading “Protest at the Intersection of Baghramyan and Demirchyan Avenues”

Jirayr Sefilyan, Justice, Eggs, etc.

Following the decision by the First Instance Court of Kentron and Norq communities to prolong the term of Zhirayr Sefilyan /Commander of Shushi special regiment/ and Vardan Malkhasyan / member of the Fatherland and Honour Party/ for two more months, their friends and supporters who had organized a rally, threw eggs at the court building with shouts, “Freedom”, “Shame on you!” etc. As a result, Bekaisa reports, more then 10 participants of the action were detained by the police for more then 3 hours. The blogger also states, that the action was largely ignored by the news media and the only response came from A1+ here.
Kornelij Glas also comments on the incident, noting, that the failure of the government to come up with a reasonable lie to serve as justification for detaining Zhirayr Sefilyan and Vardan Malkhasyan is simply appalling. However, the blogger doesn’t approve throwing eggs at the Court building: “Why the hell with eggs? Are you guys are planning to escalate the situation, receive the honorary title of dissidents? It’s just not the right way for doing it. Not aesthetic!”

Aylyntranq rally on March 16th

CRD / TI Armenian Election Monitor 2007 has an account of Aylyntranq rally held on March 16th, 2007 on Matenadaran square:

Today saw another rally held by the Aylentrank (Alternative) movement outside the Matenadaran in Yerevan. The meeting attracted only a few hundred people and was much less than the already small gathering attracted for its first open air meeting held in Liberty Square on 20 February. A1 Plus was one of only a few media outlets reporting on the meeting.

The blog has also speaks about conflict of interest for young political activists, working in international organizations like UN and trying to get active in the political life of the country. Incidentally one of such people, Aramazd Ghalamkaryan (also a blogger) has been effectively fired from UNDP, and two other young political activists have decided to leave MIAK to comply with the UN regulations.

What was most interesting about today’s event, however, was for CRD-TI Armenia to have the opportunity to talk to local blogger and Aylentrank activist, Aramazd Ghalamkaryan. Until recently, Ghalamkaryan was an Information Associate at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Armenia until his political activities resulted in his suspension. Unreported by the local media, rumor and speculation about his dismissal has been spreading in Yerevan in recent days.

About Rallies, Demonstrations and the Right to Assembly

Uzogh has an interestingly skeptical viewpoint on the recent political demonstrations and events held in Yerevan, hinting, that their hopes for becoming the Armenian version of Kmara (civic resistance movement in the republic of Georgia which undermined the government of then president of Georgia, Eduard Shevardnadze) will fail. The blogger writes:

I have always been amazed by the yearning of people to protest on the street. Everyone knows, that demonstrations, in their essence, are pointless when it comes to fighting evil […] demonstrations, rallies, protests and all those sorts of things organized by the politically marginal groups have but one aim – to show off.[…] You can spend your time finding euphemisms for naming the process of gathering protesting youth – calling all that as Alternative, Barekendan, defence of Shirayr Sefilyan’s rights and fight for preserving architectural monuments. However, they will never become anything more then “representatives of various non-governmental organizations”.

Uzogh then speculates, that the people organizing such events represent marginalized viewpoints, lack substantial backing and force (also hinting, that their main purpose is to receive grants from organizations like “Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute, European Union, National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, USAID, and the Council of Europe“), which is why Armenia’s government and the police don’t pay much attention to them, “thank God”, he adds…
Interestingly, Bekaisa, who is one of the organizers of the events tagged “marginals” in the mentioned post, has preferred to stay clear of discussions, although her one sentence post: “Yes, but there must be a way.” was perceived by Uzogh as an attempt to answer him.

Protest Outside Presidential Palace

IMG135
Presidential Palace, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia © Onnik Krikorian, CRD / TI Armenia 2007

[…]The CRD/TI Armenia Election Monitor reports on a protest against Armenia’s president that took place today outside of the presidential palace. The protesters are former residents of homes that the government evicted them from and for which the government paid less than market value.[…] Via Global Voices Online.

On a related note Bekaisa has a rebellious and inspiring post, an individual protest, looking at problems around the country, the protestors deprived of housing and left in the streets, poverty, corruption. Generally speaking nobody gives a damn about the people from Buzand, Avan, Kond… They just don’t give a damn!” says the blogger and deems the society cynical, foul and unsympathetic, declaring a personal manifesto:

[…]I shall not be silenced, nor will I hide away, I am not afraid. internal emigration for me is humiliating, silence and lack of activity equivalent to crime.[…]

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