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Friday, 18 March 2011

Liberty sq. Liberated. ‘Spring of hope’ for changes in Armenia?

From the moment when Liberty sq got seized by the authorities 3 years ago, it became apparent that unless it gets liberated again, there will be no possibility for real changes in Armenia. Apart from the great symbolism that Liberty sq represents, you just can’t have hopes for democracy in your country when you have ‘no-go’ zones there. Not that this is the only pre-requisite for changes, but still...

I can’t help myself but wonder: will today’s event transcend into a ‘spring of hope’ for changes in Armenia? It’s clear that the liberation of Liberty sq happened due to a good will and cooperation between the opposition and the authorities added by biggest (in recent past) people turnout, continuous pressures from the European structures (incidentally, senior PACE rapporteurs on Armenia were in town), worsening of socio-economic conditions of locals and the influence of more global spirit of revolutionary uprisings elsewhere.

My immediate reaction to the liberation of Liberty sq in the heart of Yerevan became “Top Tweet” for #17mar on Twitter.


This is one of the first pictures to appear live from Liberty sq on Twitter.

Picture of the Day. #Yerevan Liberty sq. via @divideetimpera: #Armenia #17mar http://t.co/9E8RlUG
@unzippedblog 




Opportunities for something positive for Armenia are there, or as they say, ‘in the air’. It’s now up to people, opposition and the authorities to make them a reality. It would be such a shame to miss this chance again. For the start, there should be no political prisoners in Armenia. Absolutely none.
Along with Liberty sq., at least 2 political prisoners set free today. Senior European delegation in town. #Armenia #Yerevan #17mar
@unzippedblog 
And let’s not forget who directly kick started the latest wave of the “battle for Liberty”. Couple of days ago, prominent oppositionist, head of Zharangutyun (Heritage) party, ex-foreign minister Raffi Hovhannisyan started “hungry for change” hunger strike inside the Liberty sq making it more than ever (over the past 3 years) accessible to protest voices and activists. “On the morning of March 15, 2011 he went on a hunger-strike to put an end to empty promises, corrupt practices and corrosive apathy.” “His actions paved the way for thousands of peaceful protesters, under the leadership of Armenian National Congress (a coalition of opposition groups) to, in the evening of March 17, 2011, retake Liberty Square.” (press release and picture below - FB page - Hungry for Change: Freedom and Justice in Armenia | Ծոմ Ազատության)


Oh, and btw, this headline from epress.am instantly became one of my favourites from today. Լարվածությունը թուլացել է. ոստիկանները ընթրում ու կոկա-կոլա են խմում (‘Tension decreased. Police having a bite to eat and drinking coca-cola)
Ոստիկանները չեն թաքցնում իրենց ուրախությունն առ այն, որ հրաման ստացան բացել շղթան և ցուցարարների նկատմամբ ուժ չկիրառել:
Երիտասարդ ոստիկանների մի խումբ, տեղակայվելով Սայաթ-Նավա պողոտայի կողմից, նստել է ասֆալտի վրա, բրդուճներ են ուտում ու կոկա-կոլա խմում. նրանք առավոտվանից լարված վիճակում կանգնած էին փողոցում: