In Armenia the day of reckoning came. Anticipated by some politically- flavoured arrests of Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s supporters, the rally in Opera Square of the opposition has been dispersed with force. Under article 44 of the Armenian Constitution, the right of citizens to hold peaceful and unarmed meetings, rallies, demonstrations and processions can be restricted “only by law, if necessary for the protection of State and public security, public order, public health and morality, and the rights, freedoms, honor and reputation of others”. The totally peaceful rally, at the moment of the police intervention – early in the morning –, was not even threatening the traffic, let alone the State security. So, it doesn’t sound very wise to display such an abuse of power, unless such power is nothing but an “Empire with clay feet”, panicked by -fewer and fewer- demonstrators. Or by something else, like alleged coup d’etat, defections or whatsoever?
For sure, from then on, the situation only worsened, with increased polarization and radicalization.
New statements, from opposition forces, previously ready to move against the government on legal bases, like the Heritage party, marked a fiery condemnation: “In view of this tragedy, it would be meaningless to now speak about the establishment of a legitimate presidential institution in Armenia. It is beyond any doubt that such atrocious methods will bring forth huge problems […]”. Unfortunately these words, uttered the 1st, precisely foresaw new violence in the streets, that went far beyond the worse expectations. Eight killed and emergency state for 20 days declared by acting President Kocharyan, which deprives partly from the chance to have further detailed information from local sources.
Not so for Russian and Azeri media, which are trying to cover what’s going on (http://www.day.az/ in Russian, posts hourly news based on reports from News Ribbon, Газета.Ru, АрмИнфо, ARMENIAToday, Regnum, Strana.ru, Gazeta.ru, Эхо Москвы, PanArmenian.Net, Новости-Армения, Арка), while in Tbilisi some NGO organized a manifestation under the slogan “DO NOT SHOOT” in front of the Armenian Embassy to express support to Armenian people, to protest against violence, violation of human rights, and to appeal to the Eurocommission and OSCE not to leave Armenians alone.
From the international community, which, btw, had not in its whole officially congratulated the new President, the first appeal to reasonability came form OSCE. The Armenian Assembly of America, as well, expressed its concerns and then the Secretary of State. The international community was quite absent during the entire pre-electoral and post-electoral period. Demonstrators tried to have it more involved after the forced end of the rally, moving in front of the French and Italian embassies.
(Videos of the 1st March http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLKhhO63vj0, night clashes http://www.russiatoday.ru/news/news/21596/video in English)