Police Allow Protesters to Enter Liberty Square

A scene from Thursday's protest

YEREVAN—After a three-year moratorium on protests at Liberty Square, Armenian police allowed Armenian National Congress protesters to enter the square Thursday as they marched from the Madenatarn building toward the central square, reported Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

After brief talks between protest organizers and police, the crowd was allowed to enter the square. The Armenian National Congress immediately called it a “victory” in its ongoing efforts to drive an agenda, which include forcing President Serzh Sarkisian to call elections, ahead of scheduled parliamentary and presidential polls in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

Armenian National Congress leader, Levon Ter-Petrosian, said his group was willing to have “dialogue” with the Sarkisian administration, saying he is giving the president an opportunity to make concession based on demands Ter-Petrosian laid out at a March 1 protest.

Ter-Petrosian likened his efforts to recent popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, saying “Very soon, that wave [of protests] will show a tendency to grow, rather than die out,” reported RFE/RL.

The police signaled that they would be willing to talk and negotiate terms for another planned Armenian National Congress protest scheduled for April 8. Two Ter-Petrosian loyalists were released from prison ahead of the protest.

Hunger striking Raffi Hovannisian meets with protesters

Heritage Party founder and leader, Raffi Hovannisian, who has been staging a hunger strike in Liberty Square since Tuesday, was greeted by some protesters as they approached the square.

Hovannisian’s one-man protest action is also aimed at forcing Sarkisian to call snap elections.

Neither Ter-Petrosian nor other Armenian National Congress leaders approached or greeted Hovannisian who told RFE/RL “This is the beginning of the victory of freedom.”

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16 Comments

  1. Viken said:

    Why isn’t ARF protesting against Serj Sarkissian? Isn’t ARF an opposition to Sarkissian’s too?

    • Norin Radd said:

      From a 2 year vantage point, certainly one begs the question, why isn’t the ARF in on the protests? But expanding that vantage point to say 10 or 12 years, things become more clear. The ARF is in a bit of a conundrum these days stuck in a grey area. In the past they have showed some support for the now President, Sargisyan, and his predecessor Kocharian.

      However, the Protocol fiasco did not bode well for these relationships since it was counter to many ARF political tenets, so the ARF took opposition to Sargisyan, potentially burning political bridges that were forged not too long ago when Sargisyan was not the boogey man Prez he has recently been made out to be in the past 2 years according to the ARF’s views. Perhaps now they are stuck in limbo, to the left is Sargisyan, the right is Ter Petrosian, the middle is Hovanisyan, none of which share a particularly amiable relationship politically with the ARF, they may have to simply throw their own hat into the ring from here on out rather than jump from camp to camp every few years.

      In the end, it’s classic Hye politik, lots of hens that all want to play the rooster without ever compromising in subordination toward each other. In this 100+ year process, the Armenian people are the ones that lose out due to a leadership that cannot even agree on disagreeing. None of these political groups will see light of day in the 21st century if they do not unite under a common banner, that of the Armenian people, state, and nation. Today’s geopolitical atmosphere does not suffer such political primitivism and idiocy, the 21st century will seal all of their fates, their hay days within the 20th century have come and gone and they stubbornly have refused to evolve for the sake of the Armenian people, each clinging to their own brand of stupidity.

      Things that do not evolve become extinct.

      • Winny said:

        The best solution would be to revert to the original formula and forget about having a president! Paliamentary democracy is the way to go. Having a presidential system was the biggest mistake!

    • Arthur I said:

      Because ARF is not in bed with the foreign enemies the way LTP is. On the contrary, I would expect ARF to stand opposed to this subversive foreign agent.

    • Dzo said:

      ARF is a parliamentary opposition, like Raffi Hovhanissian’s Heritage party. Levon and the ANC are street,radical opposition. ARF and ANC have different demands, and ARF and Levon have bad blood between them, from back in the day when Levon was acting worse than Serj is acting now.

    • Hayk said:

      These 9000 Levon’s followers do not have brain.
      There is old saying in armenian” Wolfe come and eat me” (gayl ari indz ker).
      This is just like that.
      In 1990 -s during his presidency on the walls of city and every where,yes every where was written “Levoni Mer@” this was the curs that people where giving him.
      So now they forgot it.
      This is just ridicules.
      People could protest but not with this trader.

  2. sam said:

    if levon is the answer for the change and democrasy good luck to armenia i rather see serge forever as a president sha me on levon what has he done for armenia during his time other than attending ozal’s funeral for a week in turkey and creating hatred and conflicts between all armenian partys and organisations.

  3. Van said:

    The ONLY person I can trust is Raffi Hovanissian. Why are you giving the news of his hunger strike only now?

  4. Ed said:

    LTP is a spent force – people are there not in support of LTP but against the ruling cleptocracy.

  5. Antranik said:

    ARFD are a constractive patriotic opposition and doing their work through the right channels and have Armenia’s best interest at heart unlike this shower.

  6. Arthur I said:

    Threatening Mideast type revolution in Armenia? Someone needs to neutralize this guy. Last time he cost us real bad PR and lots of lost foreign aid. This time he wants to totally destroy the country! If he can’t destroy it slowly by leading it, then he will use the current revolutionary momentum to destroy it within weeks. LTP IS THE ENEMY WITHIN!

  7. Arthur I said:

    Why does he keep coming back? Does he think he is of Karen Seropovich’s diplomatic and patriotic caliber? No, the only reason LTP is coming back is because his foreign puppet masters push him. He knows full well he has no chance to succeed. But he still does this. That means he only wants to stirr up chaos. Only to destabilize the country. And his ignorant followers think that the enemy of their enemy is their friend. This guy is a foreign agent. He is no friend to any true Armenian. He should be tried for treason and stripped of his citizenship. He should be sent to his host country, back to his puppetmasters.

  8. HOVANNES said:

    again, agaian, and again Raffi Hovhannesian is playing the game in favor of ours enemy, violence,anarqui ,caos is not the right way,the people of Armenia need peace to develope
    the motherland.

  9. pkk is the best said:

    es txen chi amanchi,yan tur ee, szvecrir ay levonchik (hame hanecir) ay mart ko jamankin cher vor 1 milion hay hayastan@ toxin? ko jamanakin che vor hayastane hascucir africai amen vat bedutian makartakin?el inches bsbsum ay levon? hanqist mna du lav poletika che unes ev vochal uneceres , du lav mart ches @NTHANRABES ; ETE LURJ DU UZUMEIR LAVE HAYASTANIN ; ES KO BSBSUMI JAMANAK CHI AY LEVON;ETE LURJ DU HAYYASTANIN EV HAYUTIAN LAV BAN ES MAXTUM UREMEN DU BEDKE NEROXUTUIN XENTRES POLORIC ; EV ET KOXACAC POXER@ VERATARCENEL HAY ASQIN ; LIK@ SXALNEREES KORCEL TE KONE PERANET BAKI U HANKIST NSTI : AMENA HARIV HAYE ARTEN JOKERE KO POLETIK@; EV HERIKA TARPERUTUIN TNEL HAYERI MEC : ARTEN SAHMANERE ANCAR: TE LAV MTACI

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