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 “Opposition takes long-awaited decisive steps”
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 “Constitutional Court gives a green light to Armenian-Turkish protocols”
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 “Opposition leader predicts “humanitarian crisis” in Armenia”
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|
Opposition Protest in front of Government Building © Photo by Artur Papyan, Yerevan, 2008
Armenian opposition gathered more then 50 thousand supporters for a rally protesting the election results in front of Matenadaran today, closing the Mashtots avenue from Matenadaran till Nairi Cinema theater. Nikol Pashinyan, one of the most vocal opposition leaders, editor in-cheif of the Haykakan Zhamanak daily announced, that the opposition denounces the elections, and calls for a new round of elections. Presidential candidate, Former President Levon Ter-Petrossian in his speech characterized the elections as “shameful”. He further called Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan’s victory the “victory of the criminal world, ….victory of Mher from Tokhmakh, Mouk from Mkhchyan, Nemets Rubo, Dodi Gago, Lfik Samo…” , naming the oligarchs supporting the Prime Minister, who according to preliminary data, has won the elections by more then 52 %.
With the initiative of Sksela youth movement and support of Center for Regional Development / Transparency Armenia, a group of 34 journalists and civil society activists, including representatives of Sksela youth movement, CRD / TI, Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, Yerevan Press Club, Helsinki Citizens Assembly – Yerevan, PanArmenian Association of Women visited Gyumri today, to take part in the rally staged in support of Gala TV company, which has come under the attack of tax inspection service and Gyumri municipality, after its refusal to comply with the directions of the authorities, not to broadcast the announcement about the first opposition rally on October 26 with the participation of Former President Levon Ter-Petrossian.
Around 1000 people gathered at the rally in support of the small regional TV company, despite the freezing cold. E-channel has more:
Armed with the posters Paws off from Gala, our Favorite Child!; Authorities change, Freedom is eternal; Enemies of Freedom of Speech will be punished by the Law and, Public Ignorance, and that Day will come by the Damnation of God, the gathering organizers and participants left Asparez journalists’ club for the Theater Square in Gyumri.
Levon Barseghyan, the chairman of Asparez club opened the meeting on behalf of the headquarters of freedom of speech and Gala support. He briefly presented the recent events around Gala, repeating that the officials involved in this case will have to answer for it.
“I am glad that here we have everybody that considers himself free, that is not scared to protect his and others’ freedom, that has understood that people closing Gala TC yesterday closed A1+ and Noyan Tapan and tomorrow are going to dictate to them how to live, how to breathe, what to listen to, what to watch, and how to think. We are not going to permit closing of Gala – they will not manage to do it,” Levon Barseghyan said.
At the end of the meeting, Levon Barseghyan congratulated the coming New Year of the gathered people, promising “to bring black New Year over those closing Gala” if that rally and their protests had no influence. The last sentence was also awarded by the encouragement of the gathered people.
Aramazd is surely taking Internet and Facebook seriously. Just like at the October 26th rally, this time I received an invitation to attend the November 16th opposition rally via my Facebook friend Aramazd Ghalamkaryan. No need to say, that I will definitely attend the event, especially as the title of the rally is very intriguing this time: “Levon Ter-Petrosian Will Speak about 4 Accusations“. I don’t know about the others, but I appreciate Aramazd’s efforts for using the Internet as a medium to communicate opposition related information to the public – although the Internet user-base in Armenia remains rather small Continue reading “Levon Ter-Petrosian Will Speak about 4 Accusations”