Killing of Armenian boy by police sparks rioting in Greece

The murder by police of a 15-year-old boy of Armenian descent in Athens has triggered the worst rioting in Greece over the past two decades.
Rioters have been attacking shops, banks, hotels and offices. Barricades were erected in central streets. Hundreds of young people were burning cars and clashing with police in Athens, in the northern city of Thessaloniki, and in several other cities.
Today Greek Prime Minister has called an emergency council to find ways to end mass protests.
The rioting started after the shooting between the police and a group of young people in one of the central districts in Athens on Saturday, as a result of which a 15-year-old boy, Alexandros Grigoropoulos who is of Armenian descent from mother’s side, was killed.
Greek authorities fear more unrest today as the funeral of the boy killed by police is to take place in Athens.
The circumstances of the shooting remain unclear, but two police officers have been arrested and charged in the shooting.

Pamphlet: "Why judges are afraid, but aren't stupid…"

In the magic land of Armenia, the legal order was proving its efficiency. Trials of law-breakers were proceeding so fast no one could keep track of them.
Not even judges. They could hardly keep order in their courtrooms but they were intent on keeping order in the country.
This time the magic had become more magical than ever. Not a single law enforcement officer had broken the law. On the contrary, order had been disrupted by citizens who did not agree with the authorities; and that was breaking the law. Continue reading “Pamphlet: "Why judges are afraid, but aren't stupid…"”

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.

Bryza and RA MFA exchange contradicting statements on March 1 violence in Armenia

Having returned to U.S. afte a visit to Armenia, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza, has sharply condemned a government crackdown on protests following last month’s presidential election.

“The violence really was deplorable,” Bryza said Monday.”It seems clear that the reaction by the government was harsh and brutal.”

Tigran Balayan, Head of the RA MFA Press Division, has said, in response to a question by ‘Mediamax’ News Agency:

We’re astonished that even after his visit to Yerevan, after meeting with and hearing from various official and unofficial sources, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matt Bryza could make such arbitrary statements.Assigning such one-sided blame is unfounded and not helpful. The number of wounded law enforcement officers (108) — 43 of them wounded by firearms and hand-grenades — clearly demonstrates that rioters were in posession of firearms and explosives. That coincides with the operative information of law enforcement agencies which had informed the public about all this, days before the events of March 1. In that case, labeling the reaction of the government as “a crackdown on opposition protests”, or qualifying it as “harsh and brutal” is incorrect. This was not at all an attack by policemen on civilians.Armenia’s challenge, now, 10 days after that disastrous day, is to fully explore and understand what happened and find ways to move forward together.The international community’s focus should be to encourage all involved to take responsibility for the damage to the fabric of our society and to look for inclusive ways to move forward.Ill-informed statements can and do contribute to an escalation of political tension.

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?

More Evidence of Unnecessary Police Violence Circling in Yerevan

Unzipped reports, that today Armenian opposition have distributed video evidence (below) confirming, that special police units have shot towards protesters during 1 March events, despite official claims, that they were shooting in the air only or not shooting at all.

According to the official position voiced a couple of days ago by Sona Truzyan, a spokesperson for the Prosecutor-General: “The preliminary investigation will establish all circumstances of the deaths. I can state basing on the data of the preliminary investigation available as of today that no shot was fired in the direction of the demonstrators even during the mass unrest” Truzyan said, adding that to quell the riots police used tear gas and tracer bullets fired solely into the air.
As I have said earlier on this blog, there is a real need to investigate not only the reasons of violence that erupted in Armenia after the February 19 Presidential elections, but also, the activities of the police forces, special services and the military. Even if we discard all the claims about “provocateurs” being put to use by special services, that opposition keeps speaking about, I would evaluate the activities of the law-enforcement bodies unacceptably incompetent, to say the least. They have failed in all and everthing one would have expected from police forces in a situation we saw in Yerevan during horrible events of March 1-2. They could not provide security of our citizens, their property, transport, businesses. They were not able to regulate traffic to make sure minibuses and troleybuses don’t fall in the hands of protesters and turn into barricades, they were not able to disperse protesters. They were not able to do anything! One wonders, why on earth do we have all these police forces if they can’t do anything, except kill our citizens!

International Women's Day 2008 & The State of Mourning


It seems strange to speak of International Women’s Day, while being in a state of mourning. It doesn’t feel like March 8th at all… 8 Armenian men, if we are to trust the official accounts of bloody events on March 1st, are gone. Their wives, mothers, sisters are mourning them right now…
I’d really wish today, that all our Armenian women could live in a free and secure country, in a country, where women could be in control of their own destiny, and not fear for their relatives, and have a chance of self realisation. …but I realise, that this is not possible, after March 1, riots, killings, state of emergency and the much worse developments, that I’m sure will follow soon. My dear Armenian women – sorry for sounding so pessimistic, but all I can wish for you today, is personal security and safety for the people immediately around you. There’s not much more one can wish and expect from this divided country now. My greetings and apologies…

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!!!!!!!!

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.

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