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.
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.
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 %.
“On December 13, at 04.30 am. the office door of Chorrord Ishkhanutyun newspaper has been exploded”, Echannel reports. “Material losses have been caused; people have not been hurt”.
As a result of the explosion the door and the windows of the office have been damaged. As told by Mher Ghalechyan, the director of Chorrord Ishkhanutyun newspaper, the door, the iron bars and the windows have been completely put out of operation. Ghalechyan says it’s hard to evaluate the material damage caused to the newspaper. However, he notes that it has been significant. He hopes to install a new door and protecting bar during the day.
“They often threatened us and we have evidences. Mher Sedrakyan called the editorial office after our first publication and swore us. We simply published about the presents distributed by the district municipality. The second publication was yesterday, when the newspaper responded to the swearing”, said Shogher Matevosyan to “A1+”. The second suspected person is Serge Sargsyan’s driver Vacho. “He approached one of our correspondents at the NA and made remarks on the photos that we publish”, she said.
Despite the bombing, the “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” newspaper will be published tomorrow.
While neighboring Iran suffers to prove its right to Nuclear power, Russia, and now also USA not only support the idea of building a new reactor for the Armenian power plant, but also compete with each other on providing grants and assistance for the project. Is this one of the cases when “complimentarism” in Armenia’s foreign policy is actually working? RFE/RL has this to say:
In the most explicit endorsement yet of Armenia’s plans to build a new nuclear plant, the United States pledged on Wednesday to help the Armenian government conduct feasibility studies needed for the implementation of the multimillion-dollar project.
Joseph Pennington, the U.S. charge d’affaires in Yerevan, said Washington, which has long been pressing for the closure of Metsamor’s sole reactor, supports the ambitious idea and will help Yerevan put it into practice. “The U.S. government supports the building of a new plant not only to improve Armenia’s energy security but also because of continuing concerns regarding the safety of the existing nuclear plant,” Pennington said. “We look forward to the rapid replacement of the Metsamor facility with a more modern and safer plant.” The diplomat spoke as he signed a memorandum of U.S.-Armenian cooperation on the issue with Energy Minister Armen Movsisian. The document envisages that the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Armenian government will work together in preparing a feasibility study for the project and an assessment of the new plant’s impact on environment. “This is an enormously complex and challenging task. But today’s gathering here marks the first significant step in that process,” Pennington said. The US government will spend $2 million on financing the planned studies, he added.
The Armenian government is already looking for foreign investors interested in financing the project estimated to cost at least $1 billion. A top executive of a Russian atomic energy firm said last month that it is already discussing with Yerevan the possibility of building a new 100 Megawatt nuclear reactor at Metsamor.
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
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”
Following the protest action against the destruction of Christian cemetery in Baku, Kornelij Glas, who was the first Armenian blogger to raise alarm, reports today, that an Azeri hacker has contacted him on ICQ and informed, that the mentioned hacker has broken into a number of Aremenian websites. The hacker has presented it this highly immoral and criminal act as revenge to the posts Kornelij Glas has published about the destruction of Christian cemetery in Baku in the following links: 1, 2, 3.
Following is a list, which the hostile hacker claims have been bloken into:
Update: after finding out the reasons of the attack Kornelij Glas has posted a YouTube video depicting the destruction of the Christian cemetery, to demonstrate to the Azeri hacker, that his efforts were pointless. ArmeniaHouse.org has the following to add:
According to Kornelij an Azerbaijani hacker had hacked number of Armenian web sites as a response to the posts he wrote about the destruction of the cemetery. They haven’t learnt so far that trying to supress the truth hurts them (Turks) even more.
6 years ago today I had just returned from the US, feeling sorry, that I didn’t have time to visit New York and see its beautiful skyline. 6 years ago – this day, the world changed, and it will never be the same again. 6 years ago today terror struck America, terror struck the World, and I can’t see an end to it.
I am sorry – New York!
PS: post inspired by Unzipped
Photo by: http://www.heal911.com/