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Thursday, 24 April 2008

Liberty sq on Remembrance Day of the Armenian Genocide

I received this letter around 2pm Yerevan time from a reader of this blog B.T.

"Here is a bit of info on what is now happening at Freedom Square [Liberty sq]:

On Remembrance Day of Armenia’s genocide, as usual I was out on my daily constitutional, and as usual I walked through Armenia’s Freedom Square. The evening before, I had joined the younger generation when they gathered in their thousands at the square with their bottled candles and I saw how they left the square on a march to the Genocide memorial. So I was not surprised to see that the square was full of busses, I assumed waiting for those youngsters who had spent the night at the memorial.

I should have realized that I was wrong when I saw the squads of police officers surrounding the opera, batons in hand. No the busses had not brought mourners to the square they had brought the police officers and their anti-democracy riot gear. And rather than as usual being parked along the roads surrounding the square, the busses were parked right on the middle of Freedom Square, no doubt to hinder the masses that were due to gather at 3.00 pm to remember those who had lost their lives in the genocide of 1915. Our post State-of-Emergency authorities were seemingly concerned that yet another anti-government rally might develop – and I would say they had every cause to be concerned."

The information he provided is confirmed also by A1+:

՚Ազատությանՙ հրապարակն այսօր առավոտից շրջապատված է ոստիկանության աշխատակիցներով, որոնք խմբերով կանգնած են մայթերին ու հսկում են անցուդարձը: ՚Ազատությանՙ հրապարակի անմիջապես մեջտեղում տեղակայվել են ոստիկանության ավտոբուսներ ու մեքենաներ:

Նշենք, որ այսօր ընդդիմության ներկայացուցիչներն ՚Ազատությանՙ հրապարակից ժամը 15.00- ին պետք է շարժվեն դեպի 1915թ. ցեղասպանության զոհերի հիշատակը հավերժացնող հուշահամալիր՝ ծաղկեպսակներ դնելու:

Հետաքրքրվեցինք ոստիկաններից, թե ինչո՞ւ են այսօր հավաքվել ՚Ազատությանՙ հրապարակում եւ ինչո՞ւ են այսքան շատ՝ որեւէ իրադարձությո՞ւն է սպասվում: Ոստիկաններից մեկը հումորով նկատեց, թե` ՚ոչ մի բան էլ չի նախատեսվում, այնպես որ հանգիստ կարող եք շրջել տարածքումՙ: Մեկ այլ ոստիկան էլ, մեզ խորհուրդ տվեց. ՚Ժամը 15:00-ի սահմաններում չերեւաք այստեղ, այդպես լավ կլինիՙ:

Ի դեպ, մեր ունեցած տեղեկություններվ, այսօր ոստիկանության հիվանդանոցում աշխատակիցները զգուշացվել են լինել ավելի զգոն եւ կազմակերպված, ծանրաբեռնված ռեժիմով աշխատելու պատրաստ:






*source of photos - A1+

22 comments:

artmika said...

Radio Liberty just reported that instead opposition supporters started their Commemorative March from the Northern Avenue. No incidents are reported so far.

artmika said...

Armenia's first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan joins the march

Lragir.am reports:

Այսօր ժամը 15-ին Երեւանի Սարյանի արձանի մոտից մեկնարկած երթը արդեն հասել է Ծիծեռնակաբերդի հուշահամալիր, որտեղ մասնակիցներին է միացել Լեւոն Տեր-Պետրոսյանը տիկնոջ հետ: Այստեղ է նաեւ ՀԺԿ նախագահ Ստեփան Դեմիրճյանը: Երթի մասնակիցների թիվը բավական մեծ է` մոտ երկու տասնյակ հազար մարդ:

reflective said...

This will backfire. It is sad to see the radical opposition abuse the memory of April 24 for political gain.

artmika said...

I think your use of world “abuse” is very inappropriate here. Like any individual or political party or movement in Armenia, they also have a right to march to Tsitsernakaberd and lay the wreath and flowers there, which exactly what they did.

reflective said...

If that is all it is, then of course, abuse is wrong. If on the other hand, it is the personification of the shameful rhetoric from the journalist (sic) gayane in your previous post, then I cannot find strong enough words to condemn this act.

Haik said...

The dictatorship abused the human rights today.
1. people were not allowed to gather in one place before heading to Tsitsernakaberd.
2. H1 didnt cover it Live as it always happened as far as anybody can remember.
3. people were divided into groups and harassed on their way to Tsitsernakabert.

All this adds up to the fact that the current regime is not much different from the Young Turks and the Turkish government.
As in turkey in Armenia nowadays the people are not allowed to mourn for the Armenian genocide victims.

reflective said...

Haik, pls be serious. #2 is an abuse of human rights?

This is yet another attempt at goading the authorities. Last time this happened, the LTP radicals pushed until they got what he wanted: blood in the streets.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Actually the march started off from the Saryan statue opposite the Opera. Also, while the number of police was far more than for those Dashnak youth who went up to the memorial yesterday, one observation. From what I saw the police behaved as they should and were even coordinating with the demonstrator leaders.

Well, it had to be said that to begin with it wasn't so smooth with police telling the procession to keep to the streets, a request that was ignored, but there were no incidents that I saw. Interestingly, for once it was normal police outside the presidential palace too -- and not riot police. Anyway, apart from wolf whistles and near constant shouts of "Levon, President" both the opposition and the police behaved as they should.

Levon joined them at the bottom of the Tsitsernakaberd hill. The procession was then silent and did not shout out any political slogans until they left the area. Anyway, while we can debate whether the march should have turned into a pro-Levon rally or not, I was pleased to see it pass without any clashes or trouble. I was also glad to see the police act how they should.

Here's hoping that this will continue to be the case and not something which will last until the international community stops monitoring the situation in Armenia. There's photos on my Flickr site and there''ll be a post with photos later.

reflective said...

Thank you for sober clarification, Onnik. The disinformation campaign and wrapping flags of every noble cause around the activities of the radical opposition is further discrediting to their cause for power.

artmika said...

Thanks for sharing your observations, Onnik. Look forward to your post with photos. I may use some of your photos for my blog too, later today.

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

"reflective," I was hoping that you would restrain your Turret's syndrome on this solemn day, at least, but I see now that your compulsion to spit out epithets at Armenians is too great.

That's really sad.

Notice that Onnik witnessed the procession growing quite when it reached the memorial. It's called "respect."

Anonymous said...

Armen

compare what Onnik wrote with this

http://www.a1plus.am/am/?page=issue&iid=59916

From what I read I understood that majority of people are first time going to tsitsernakaberd and don't know why people are divided into smaller groups and that tradition exists for years. And it seems that A1+ doesn't know either!?

Can you comment on what A1+ wrote with the same spirit as you did with reflective?

reflective said...

Armen - I didn't turn this solemn day in to political cash-out. And I didn't call you a turk.

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

I didn't call you a Turk, "reflective," I asked you whether you were one.

And, yeah, sure: clearly, there was nothing political about the disparaging comments you made about LTP and the Opposition on April 24th--except for the little fact that it's political movement that is being led by LTP, a popular political figure.

The Opposition wanted to commemorate the event as a group. They feel that the freedom that they inspire to is the same freedom that the victims of the genocide never got to have. And you spit on that just like you spit on everything that they do. You've learned logic reflecting on pretzels, and your diction makes Turrets victims feel inadequate.

anonymous, people have 364 other days every year to go to tziternakaberd, you know.

Harassed by police presence all the way from where they started their procession only to be harassed some more at the monument must have been monumentally annoying. But they displayed supreme self-control, civility, and discipline.

It must be asked: Why were the police there in the first place? Who needed them there?

The police said they were trying to prevent crowding. The people got their way--it turned out that there was no crowding, and nothing bad happened. Clearly, then, the concern the police expressed was false. Clearly, they were there gratuitously, wasting tax-payer money treating the people like cattle.

The Opposition can't go anywhere without the police hounding them. Kudos to the Opposition for being patient with those fat-assed middle aged men constantly stalking them.

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

"From what I read I understood that [the] majority of people are first time going to tsitsernakaberd"

You probably understood incorrectly, but even if not, please tell me why the Opposition movement inspiring people to engage with their history for the first time is a bad thing.

Onnik Krikorian said...

It was also interesting for me to note a few opposition supporters also marched with the Dashnaks the night before. I know a few of them from years of photographing opposition rallies and when one (actually one of Aram Sargsyan's guys who usually is part of the people who keeps things in order) came up to me to say hi on the AYF march up to the memorial I jokingly asked "Are you a Dashnak today?" His response was "I'm Armenian."

Anyway, you get my point. Many of us can have our own opinions of whether the April 24 march should have been as it was with the slogans and stuff, but some of these guys not only have been up on previous marches, but also with what are political "opponents" on days when actually such allegiances shouldn't matter.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Armen, I disagree with your remarks about the police. Firstly, they were not intimidating and secondly, they should always accompany marches and not least because THEY WERE NEEDED to stop traffic for the opposition to cross traffic lines and so on (Baghramian -- Orbeli -- Kievian).

However, it is true that the numbers were more than were probably necessary, but I have to say again, this time they were not armed even with batons/truncheons and definitely not decked out in riot gear. I can only hope that this remains the case in the future.

I just wish for this day of all days we could forget politics and realize one thing. That is, the opposition succeeded in holding their march and the police fulfilled their function in such a way that I hope it sets a precedent for future events and rallies.

artmika said...

Quote of The Day

Anonymous said...

1.
Onnik says "I was pleased to see it pass without any clashes or trouble. I was also glad to see the police act how they should."

Armen filadelfiatsi says "Harassed by police presence all the way from where they started their procession only to be harassed some more at the monument must have been monumentally annoying."

Sorry Armen, but I trust Onnik's words more than yours.

2. Armen observes that "Notice that Onnik witnessed the procession growing quite when it reached the memorial. It's called "respect.""

If tsitsrnakaberd is the place for memory of victims then April 24 is the day for it. So people started to be quite only after reaching tsitsernakaberd? Moreover, LTP team asked quite rally all day, an that is what I respect. However those /and I beleive few/ who were shouting Levon, etc on April 24 rally had to be accused by LTP team first.

3. Armen said - "but even if not, please tell me why the Opposition movement inspiring people to engage with their history for the first time is a bad thing."

It's not bad thing, thats the main good thing that the rally brought about. I hope next time they will go to tsitsernakabaerd regardless of oppostion call.


4. Armen said -"The police said they were trying to prevent crowding. The people got their way--it turned out that there was no crowding, and nothing bad happened. Clearly, then, the concern the police expressed was false."

It seems that Armen has never been at tsitsernakaberd on April 24. Correct me if I am wrong.

When I /and all others/ put flower near the fire at Tsitsernakaberd, I /and all others/ need couple of more minutes to stay there, to pray andrememer th victims. Those few minutes are provided via dividing the crowed into smaller groups. Its may be hard to explain how it happens, one should be there to feel it.

PS
And Armen, please, don't blindly defend anything in relation with LTP, only Gods do no mistakes.

PPS
As a sympathy to A1+ I was not watching Haylur from the day A1+ was closed. However, reading what they reported on April 24 re LTP rally, police, etc and comparing it with what Onnik wrote, they lost remaining respect.

reflective said...

Armen - you can continue to fume all you want, ask people if they are turks, or draw analogies to people with disabilities.

You are an apologist for everything LTP does. That is fine.

My point was that in my opinion April 24 should not be exploited for cheap political gain. "people have the right to mourn" is disingenuous if people are chanting absurdities like "Levon is President", or "Serj go away." This has nothing to do with April 24, and I as an Armenian resent it, and am glad fewer and fewer people are tying hope with LTP.

Now go ahead and make fun of Turrett's Syndrome or something else equally mature.

Haik said...

You all forget one major thing.
If people have been given the right to express themselves none of those things would have been necessary.
The core of all this is February 19 when the people's votes were falsified. The rest are the consequences.

The only way to correct this is to run a new and fair presidential elections.
Till this is not given people would revolt in any occassion.

So far i havent seen anybody in the blogs who accepted the outcome of the elections as fair and just.

artmika said...

Lragir.am reports:

REPRESENTATIVE OF OPPOSITION THANKS THE POLICE

Manushak Petrosyan, member of the election office of Levon Ter-Petrosyan [...] said the march on April 24 to Tsitsernakaberd showed how self-organized people are. By the way, as an instance of correct behavior of the police, Manushak Petrosyan pointed to the behavior of the police during the march on April 24. According to her, the police did what it should do, separating the march and the traffic. Manushak Petrosyan thanked the police for this.

ԸՆԴԴԻՄՈՒԹՅԱՆ ՆԵՐԿԱՅԱՑՈՒՑԻՉԸ ՇՆՈՐՀԱԿԱԼՈՒԹՅՈՒՆ Է ՀԱՅՏՆՈՒՄ ՈՍՏԻԿԱՆՈՒԹՅԱՆԸ

Լեւոն Տեր-Պետրոսյանի ընտրական շտաբի անդամ Մանուշակ Պետրոսյանն ապրիլի 28-ին հրավիրած մամուլի ասուլիսի ընթացքում [...] նշել է, որ ապրիլի 24-ի երթն էլ, որ ուղղվեց Ծիծեռնակաբերդ, վկայեց, թե որքան ինքնակազմակերպված է ժողովուրդը: Ի դեպ, որպես ոստիկանության ճիշտ պահվածքի օրինակ Մանուշակ Պետրոսյանը վկայակոչեց համաժողովրդական շարժման կազմակերպած հենց այդ, ապրիլի 24-ի երթը: Նրա խոսքով, ոստիկաններն արեցին այն, ինչ որ պետք է անեին, ապահովելով, որ երթն անցնի հանգիստ, իր ուղով եւ սահմանազատելով երթի ընթացքն ու փողոցային երթեւեկությունը: Այդ ամենի համար, օգտվելով առիթից, Մանուշակ Պետրոսյանը շնորհակալություն է հայտնել ոստիկանությանը: