The leader of Armenia’s largest opposition group Armenian National Congress Levon Ter-Petrossian announced the start of one-week long non-stop rallies today, in a long awaited decisive move, following days of speculation as to what exactly the opposition will do when they see that the authorities have no intention of returning to dialogue. Continue reading
The Consitutional Court issued a verdict on January 12, giving its approval to the Armenian-Turkish protocols on normalizing bilateral relations, and dismissing claims by Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun), that some provisions contained in the protocols are unconstitutional. Continue reading
Citing major challenges faced by Armenia due to looming economic crisis and strained regional ties, opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian on Sunday addressed a rally to mark first anniversary of the 2008 post-election clashes in Yerevan, saying he’ll have to “disappoint” radically minded supporters and rejected call for “decisive action” for the time being. Continue reading
E-channel has a detailed update on yesterday’s opposition rally – Reporter_Arm stayed till the end of the rally to give you the objective picture. Bored with all the rallies of the year, I left at around 19:30, when it became evident, that the maximum number of supporters will peak at around 5-6,000 – which is the smallest rally with the participation of Levon Ter-Petrossian that I’ve seen this year yet. It is, however, too early to speak of final breakdown of the opposition. On the contrary, it seems the opposition has finally decided to move away from rallies and revolutionism, and start actually engaging in politics.
Postponing the rally of September 5th not to hinder the Turkish president’s visit is one sign of this, participation in elections of Yerevan District Mayors is another. And accounts of yesterday’s rally also ring positive bells, albeit with silly distractions like the speech of Armenia’s cheif Marxist.
David Shahnazarian, for example, has said, “We have to understand, that it is not time for abrupt actions by the Movement at the moment”, noting, that the opposition movement should be careful not to become a tool in the hands of foreign powers.
Levon Zurabyan has set the future agenda of the Movement, saying the logic and rules of the game have now changed, and the opposition will avoid direct confrontations and engage in the sphere of ideology instead.
Speaking for around half an hour, Levon Ter-Petrossian has analyzed the geopolitical situation around armenia, and noted, that these are hard times for Armenia’s foreign politics. The Movement should take care not to harm the Country and the people, opposition leader has said.
No march in the streets of Yerevan has followed the rally. Although the opposition has explained it with the desire not to undertake illegal actions (as the march would have been unsanctioned), it is more likely, that the decision was taken because of small number of rally attenders, which would have made an embarrassing sight if stretched in a march.
|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|