Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Armenian government's 'amusement park'

Question: How to prevent opposition rallies in Liberty square, Yerevan, Armenia?

Answer: To set up a 'children's park' there.

To avoid 'children sensitivities', the Armenia's opposition will hold its rally in front of Matenadaran, an ancient manuscript depository in central Yerevan, this coming Friday 20 June, 6 pm.

Despite their pledge to restore basic freedoms and democracy in Armenia after 1 March events in Yerevan, the Armenian authorities did not authorise this rally and so far have not made any significant progress in meeting European obligations and demands.

In the meantime, a group of bloggers and activists signed an open letter to the people of Armenia, government and international organisations.

An Open Letter to the People of Armenia, the Government of Armenia , and International Organizations

(via Tzitzernak)

Very soon, every citizen of Armenia will be making a decision. Each citizen will have to decide whether he or she will be venturing out to join others in front of the Matenadaran, to participate in the first large rally organized by the Opposition since the events of March 1.

Events leading up to the February 19th presidential elections, including repressions of speech and media and flagrant abuses of power during and after the voting itself, made fair elections impossible and resulted in a falsified outcome. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered, day and night, in Liberty Square to peacefully protest the official outcome. On the night of March 1st, the government of Armenia used lethal force against its own people, for which there can be no justification. Since then, Armenia has been through an unfounded State of Emergency, with a smokescreen of changes afterwards meant only to appease critics from the international community. No real changes have been instituted to restore the rights and freedoms that belong to every man, woman, and child in Armenia, who have these rights and freedoms not because they are citizens of Armenia, but because they are. And, simply stated, no article or amendment can take away those rights and freedoms.

On June 20, every citizen of Armenia will have to make that important and difficult decision. Difficult, because the present government has already proven that it considers power an end in itself, and that the use of any means is justifiable to that end.

We, the undersigned, support the people of Armenia in their rights and freedoms, in their right to gather to voice discontent in a peaceful manner against a government which has shown only disdain for its citizens.

We demand that the Government of Armenia restore those rights and freedoms to her people.

We urge those international organizations involved in promoting human, political and civil rights to be true to their principles, to not be distracted by false attempts at change, and to help ensure the rights and freedoms that belong to the people of Armenia.

A. Manoukyan []
H. Nazarian []
HIMA Youth Movement []
Penelope Morrison
Save Armenia Action Group [SAAG]
BeautySavesWorld [YouTube]
Manet Manukyan, daughter of political prisoner Ashot Manukyan, head of Lori ANM
[YouTube zzz13423]
John Lowe, former United States Peace Corps Volunteer, Democracy and Development, Vanadzor
Tzitzernak []
Haik []
Hasmik Harutyunyan [former diplomat of the Republic of Armenia]
Armenaker Kameleon []


Onnik Krikorian said...

Personal opinion.

First, it is understandable why the authorities would not sanction a Liberty Square rally now that summer is here and people are using it and the last time they were there they occupied it without permission.

(On the other hand, corrupt government officials and their friends/relatives have also occupied it with their damn cafes at the expense of having a green area in the very center.

However, setting up the children's park and pretending as if they would have anyway is ridiculous. Moreover, I think it's somehow exploitation of children and potentially using them even if it might place them at risk if clashes were to occur.

Here, the blame is more on the government than the opposition. It really is reckless, unsophisticated and immoral. My take, Matenadaran rally should be allowed.

BTW: Photo of Liberty Square two days ago here:

Glad that the radical opposition have called on people to go to Matenadaran. It's a propaganda victory for them while the government just looks stupid.

proudly anonymous said...

I still fail to see the logic behind banning rally by Matenadaran; it's beyond me.But maybe we should've stopped looking for logic in these clowns' actions a long time ago. All they do is lend more credibility to the opposition and give it the opportunity to once again assert that the authorities are shaking in their collective boots. I thought Serzh was paying a nice sum to a PR firm...he should ask for his money back.

Btw, a police official explained that they had credible information that the Matenadaran protest had the possibility of turning into a mass disturbance, but that the opposition was free to rally around Hrazdan. So apparently the same organizers leading the same group of people would organize mass disturbances downtown but not at Hrazdan.Honestly,who do they think they are fooling?

Onnik, thanks for that photo. Absolutely bizarre. Is Serzh rally that pathetic to have to hide behind children? It would be hilarious if it wasn't so, so sad.

pigh said...

I always thought that Aramazd is Ghalamqaryan:)

nazarian said...

Exploitation of kids by the banditocracy is nothing new. Here is a recollection of the very first Ayl@ntranq rally:

artmika said...

To Pigh: Thanks, I think you are right re Aramazd surname. I got the letter via Tzitzernak and posted as it was, will let her know too.

reflective said...

I am glad that the demonstration came and went and, despite the continued racism and hatred exhorted by the organizers, neither the government nor the radical opposition pushed for violence or confrontation.

John Maszka said...

Your article is well-written and supports my theory of Constructive Sovereignty.

Constructive Sovereignty is an emerging international relations theory pioneered by John Maszka intended to address globalization's increasing onslaught against state sovereignty. The theory maintains that states are not the primary actors, their constituents are. Therefore, their preferences are not fixed. Since states merely represent the preferences of their constituents, they will only adhere to and ultimately embed those international norms their constituency will accept. Rather than push for larger and more powerful international organizations that will impose global norms from the outside in, the theory of Constructive Sovereignty posits that ultimately change must come from the inside out. That is to say, from each state's own constituency. As each state's constituents become more and more international, they will become more receptive to international norms. In this way, international norms are embedded and viewed with legitimacy while each state's sovereignty is maintained and respected.

Anonymous said...

Pigh and others: in fact I have two surnames - Ghalamkaryan and Manoukyan. The first is my formal and official last name, while the second - my real last name (because my father's last name is Manoukyan)! :)

artmika said...

Thanks for clarifications, Aramazd! I had no idea and got confused too :)