The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) rallied more than a thousand supporters in Yerevan on Monday to demand that Armenia’s Constitutional Court invalidate the fence-mending agreements with Turkey, RFE/RL reports. The whole rally seems like a big and colorful show, because very few people would consider the Constitutional Court an independent branch of the state capable of making decisions without the direct instructions from the President’s administration, or Dashnakstutyun, a true and independent opposition force, capable of impacting the government’s agenda. Continue reading “Dashnaktsutyun stage a rally in protest of Armenian-Turkish protocols”
Two members of parliament, a former foreign minister, a former deputy to Prosecutor-General among 19 or so other oppositionists, walked out of courts and were released from prison in a matter of 2 days as an amnesty put forward by President Sarkisian and approved by the National Assembly last Friday came into action. Continue reading “Prominent oppositionists released on amnesty”
As one year anniversary of March 1, 2008 deadly clashes between the opposition protesters and military police forces looms closer, there’s growing tension in the society. Police and opposition mutually warned each other today not to stir further tension.
Major-General Alik Sargsian, chief of the national police, made clear that the police will not try to disperse thousands of people who are expected to rally on Sunday to mark the first anniversary of the 2008 post-election clashes in Yerevan. “The police are very calm,” he said. “Nothing [bad] is expected on March 1. Our people understand everything.” Continue reading “There's something in the air…”
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.
Municipal authorities in Yerevan have banned a rally which the Armenian opposition plans to hold in the city center on the first anniversary of the March 1 deadly clashes sparked by the 2008 presidential election, RFE/RL reports.
The authorities have proposed the opposition to hold the near Yerevan’s “Dynamo” stadium, just outside the city center.
Artak Zeynalyan of “Hanrapetutyun” party had presented a formal notification to the municipality on February 9th about their intention to hold a rally in the area next to Yerevan’s manuscript museum – Matenadaran or the Northern Avenue, to be followed by a march to Myasnikyan statue – the location of March 1 violent clashes between opposition supporters and the police. Continue reading “Armenian opposition rally banned on March 1”
While many people call the attempts of Armenian opposition to protest the results of February 19, 2008 Presidential elections by holding rallies as a pointless waste of time and efforts, it’s hard to imagine, what else the radical opposition could do at this point – their support is slowly declining, the government shows no genuine desire to engage in dialogue with them, international bodies seem to have exchanged their demands for Armenia’s democratisation with the vague promise for compromise in Nagorno Karabakh issue.
Meanwhile the opposition rallies continue: last week there was one in Gyumri, today the rally in Yerevan seems to have attracted less people then in the previous one. With summer heat driving people away from Yerevan and the holiday season killing all types of enthusiasm for action, political or otherwise, looks like this is just a lost cause for the opposition, or a way to slowly calm down the anti-government moods still persisting among a large number of people.
About 150 women had gathered in front of the general prosecutor’s office to demand fair trial and freedom for political prisoners. They also conveyed a letter to the prosecutor’s office.
“Today, we have not come here to celebrate our feast but we have come here to demand freedom for our husbands and men. Since they are in prisons, we cannot celebrate it,” says Heghine Harutyunyan, a participant of the action. That was included in the letter signed by the gathered women and conveyed to the general prosecutor’s office of Republic of Armenia.
Continue reading “Women demand fair trial”
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.
Shap words of warning came from President Robert Kocharyan in yesterdays interview to the Public TV of Armenia – that the authorities cannot tolerate much longer the endless opposition protests in front of the Opera house. Kocharyan deliberately called the Freedom square with its old name – Theatre square, as if trying to neglect the “freedom” aspect of it. However, today, despite all warnings, the Freedom square was full of people – at least 35,000 demonstrators looked elevated, and chanted “Levon, Levon!”.
Having regained his voice, Nikol Pashinyan, one of the most energetic opposition activists, told everybody, that there is a “Psychological warfare” going on in Armenia, and urged their supporters to keep coming to the Freedom square until they win.
Ter-Petrossian also spoke, saying that he has been spending already two nights at the Freedom square with the protesters, and ensured, that he keeps working to ensure victory.
As if to counter Kocharyan’s warning, the crowd set out to march again – the march was unsanctioned, as all of the marches organized over the past 6-7 days. A sizable crowd of people was urged to remain in the Freedom square, so as to prevent the police forces from occupying it. Police crackdown is expected any moment now.
For Kocharyan’s interview check out Uzogh’s blog.
|Freedom Square, Yerevan, Armenia 15:05||Republic Square, Yerevan, Armenia, 15:20|
All through the day yesterday the State propaganda machine was showing the rare crowd of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrossian’s supporters in front of the Opera house, describing them as alcoholics, drug addicts, homeless beggars, armed criminals. A scare campaign was also in progress – showing arrests of more Ter-Petrossian’s supporters: Petros Makeyan, Suren Surenyants, Khachatur Suqiasyan’s (Grzo) bodyguards. Meanwhile, demonstrations in various regions, staged in support of government candidate, prime minister Serzh Sargsyan were displayed. H1 Public TV of Armenia was openly inviting everyone to the Republic Square in Yerevan today, to attend the big rally in support of the “newly elected president” Serzh Sargsyan. One thing they miscalculated, however, is the fact, that the authorities have been running out of their administrative levers by now, and that people don’t trust the Public TV reports anymore. Every word public TV said yesterday – contributed to Ter-Petrossian’s authority. People don’t like being treated like sheep.
Today there were two rallies in Yerevan – the endless rally started by the opposition since February 20th in the highly symbolic Freedom Square, in front of the Opera house, and the rally in support of government candidate Serzh Sargsyan, who claims victory at the elections. While people have been warned against attending the rally at the Freedom Square, which the authorities say is unsanctioned, the rally at the Republic square was organized using the whole administrative capacity of the authorities: people were herded and brought in from the regions, state institutions, schools, universities, ministeries. Quite expectedly, people assembled at the Serzh Sargsyan rally at the Republic square, after days of information blockade by the state propaganda machine and in many cases forced to attend the Serzh Sargsyan rally, at some point during the rally, when music pop-star Sirusho was singing, started walking towards the Freedom square rally, where Ter-Petrossian supporters were protesting. As a result – the number of Ter-Petrossian rally participants swelled extraordinarily. In fact, I’ve never seen such a large crowd in my life.
People have awakened, and Serzh Sargsyan, even if he manages to tackle this somehow, will never be a president with real power, authority and legitimacy. Even if Ter-Petrossian doesn’t become president (and I still see his chances as rather vague), he has already won.
This evening president Kocharyan is scheduled to speak on Armenian TV. I expect him to declare a state of emergency, call in the army, perhaps institute curfew and start mass arrests.
|Northern Ave. Yerevan, Armenia||Freedom Square, Yerevan, Armenia|