Armenia: Egypt events energizing opposition in Yerevan

00:49 • 03.02.11

By Marianna Grigoryan
Eurasia.net

Inspired by recent developments in North Africa, Armenia’s largest opposition coalition is preparing for “large-scale rallies” in Yerevan’s Liberty Square starting on February 18.

The government’s public response to the announcement by oppositionist Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s Armenian National Congress (ANC) has been muted. But official actions suggest that authorities are taking the potential for an “Egypt Effect” in Armenia seriously. Soon after the ANC revealed its protest plans, Yerevan city officials countered that Liberty Square would be off limits because it would be the scene of “sports and cultural events” from February 15 to March 15.

ANC leaders say that if they can’t secure permission to rally in Liberty Square via PR efforts and official application procedures, they will simply protest without a permit by from the Yerevan Municipality.

Liberty Square has long been the preferred site for opposition rallies, and it was the scene of the 2008 post-presidential election crackdown that left at least 10 people killed. The date selected for the rally – the eve of the date of the 2008 presidential election, a vote that the ANC claims was stolen from Ter-Petrosyan – is designed to reinforce the opposition message.

Ter-Petrosyan, a skilled orator and former president, has repeatedly pledged to restart the ANC’s rallies in Liberty Square and has routinely had to contend with supposed “scheduling conflicts” of Yerevan Municipality. When the ANC staged protests at other venues in recent years, they failed to attract large numbers.

This time, timing may be on the ANC’s side, some analysts believe.

Aside from heated discussions among Armenians about the changes underway in Egypt and Tunisia, economic discontent is brewing in Armenia. An ANC demonstration, if it takes place, would come on the heels of angry protests by Yerevan street traders, whose activities were recently banned. High prices – consumer prices in 2010 increased by 8.8 percent compared with the previous year, according to the National Statistical Service – and near-double-digit inflation (9.4 percent in 2010) are fuelling a growing sense of discontent.

“Revolutions act like contagions,” said Manvel Sargsyan, a political analyst at the Armenian Center for National and International Studies. “In any event, the incidents in Tunisia and Egypt have already affected Armenia’s domestic life; the opposition has whipped up its excitement, and the authorities are responding accordingly.”

For now, the reactions of both sides are “predictable,” Sargsyan said. For the opposition to succeed in promoting substantive political changes, he added, Ter-Petrosyan and others have to move beyond simply talking about holding protests. “They must set goals and achieve them,” he said.

The leader of the opposition Heritage party’s parliamentary faction, Stepan Safaryan, agreed; while the complaints of protesters in Egypt and Tunisia may resonate in Armenia amid the simmering discontent about runaway prices and dwindling jobs, staging a rally, by itself, is not much of a political goal. “We need to clarify the issues,” said Safaryan.

“Occupying the Liberty Square cannot be a goal when we face the problem of restoring the rights of the people and many other important issues.”

Eduard Sharmazanov, the spokesperson for President Serzh Sargsyan’s Republican Party of Armenia, downplayed the chances that the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings will prompt a large number of Armenians to take to the streets. “There is some discontent in Armenia, but there are no grounds for a social revolt,” Sharmazanov said. “Armenian authorities are determined to carry out reforms to alleviate the consequences of the [economic] crisis.”

One Yerevan pensioner, 63-year-old Janik Avagyan, scoffed at such rhetoric, and expressed readiness to protest. Social and economic conditions, Avagyan asserted, were worsening by the day. “Everything gets more expensive, the public utilities, the food, life, and the authorities only give promises,” Avagyan said.

Reversely, one Yerevan taxi driver said that while events in Egypt had captivated the attention of Armenians, he personally remained reluctant to throw his support behind Ter-Petrosyan. The driver, who declined to give his name, voiced disappointment over the outcome of the protest movement in 2008, and expressed the belief that Ter-Petrosyan was merely trying to position himself for another presidential run in 2013.

“After hundreds of thousands of people attended his rallies and the notorious events [of 2008], Levon Ter-Petrosyan dropped out of sight, and now he shows up again,” said the driver. “Why should I believe him?”

 

Armenian News - Tert.am





LATEST NEWSAll Today news

15:07 • 27/05

Ucom Supports BarCamp Yerevan 2017

15:02 • 27/05

Converse Bank’s nominal coupon bonds issued are now listed on NASDAQ OMX Armenia

18:06 • 26/05

Nasa's Juno probe captures first close-up images of Jupiter

17:27 • 26/05

Agreement reached to deploy more observers in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone – Russian mediator

16:37 • 26/05

Azerbaijan not to shoot down tourist planes in sky over Nagorno-Karabakh – official

15:31 • 26/05

ANCA ‘troubled by Trump’s ill-Advised and misguided proposal to cut Aid to Armenia’

15:14 • 26/05

Armenia’s capital named second cheapest tourism destination for Russians

14:36 • 26/05

Barcelona 3-1 to beat Alaves for Copa del Rey glory

14:29 • 26/05

Laura Biagiotti, Italy's "Queen of Cashmere" dies

13:46 • 26/05

Armenian serviceman fatally wounded in Nagorno-Karabakh

13:34 • 26/05

Armenian citizens confirmed dead in Marseille fire (video)

13:10 • 26/05

Police report tenth arrest in Manchester attack

12:52 • 26/05

Emma Watson shows unbelievable acting  while filming 'Beauty and the Beast' without CGI

12:36 • 26/05

Facebook’s Zuckerberg finally gets his Harvard degree - 12 years after dropping out

12:31 • 26/05

Iran sees breakthrough in oil deals after Rouhani re-election

12:23 • 26/05

Manchester terrorist planned attack for a year – The Times

12:06 • 26/05

ANCA’s Hamparian urges for strong Congress response to Erdogan-ordered attacks

11:58 • 26/05

Erdogan to revive Turkey’s EU bid

11:44 • 26/05

European parliamentarians visit Yerevan Regional College

10:17 • 26/05

US House committee unanimously condemns DC attacks by Erdogan’s bodyguards

09:45 • 26/05

Armenian president appoints cabinet ministers

09:14 • 26/05

Ivanka Trump mistakes Lazio star Chinaglia for a saint

17:45 • 25/05

Armenian National Assembly speaker hosts European parliamentarians

17:08 • 25/05

Dramatic moment a woman, 28, jumps onto the hood of her SUV to stop thieves (photos, video)

16:59 • 25/05

Football:  Gattuso returns to AC Milan as youth team coach

16:43 • 25/05

OPEC extends oil cuts for nine months to end global glut

16:27 • 25/05

Stoltenberg hails contacts between NATO-allied countries and Russia

16:18 • 25/05

Google AI defeats human Go champion

16:00 • 25/05

Electric cars are charged while moving at more than 60mph on new Scalextric-style track

15:24 • 25/05

New government body to guarantee higher level of information freedom in Armenia - official  

13:58 • 25/05

Manchester attack: Police 'stop sharing information with US'

13:52 • 25/05

First private site rocket mission fired from New Zealand

13:13 • 25/05

Turkey denies restricting Russian agricultural imports

13:00 • 25/05

‘Armenia Uncovered’: Comedian Kev Orkian to share story of historical heritage

12:46 • 25/05

New Armenian regional governor appointed

12:28 • 25/05

School optimization needs evolutionary approach – Armenian economist  

11:37 • 25/05

168 Zham: Azerbaijan needs Karabakh only as a political tool - Russian analyst

11:03 • 25/05

ANCA to testify at hearing on Erdogan-ordered attacks on US protesters

10:33 • 25/05

I accepted this prize as message from God, says first Aurora Prize Laureate

09:29 • 25/05

Pope urges Trump to be peace lover

09:11 • 25/05

Henrikh Mkhitaryan opens up on Europa League glory

20:13 • 24/05

Incoming tourism on the rise in Armenia - official

19:31 • 24/05

Tom Cruise confirms top gun sequel

19:02 • 24/05

Aliens could be living closer than thought - study

18:41 • 24/05

IS-linked militants besiege Philippine city

18:33 • 24/05

Trump hire lawyer for Russia probe  

18:20 • 24/05

Smiling Queen arrives at St Paul's Cathedral for an OBE service with the Duke of Edinburgh 

18:03 • 24/05

Chelsea cancel victory parade in light of Manchester terror attack

17:52 • 24/05

Financial system ‘highly sustainable’ in Armenia – Central Bank official

17:00 • 24/05

Aram Ateshyan steps down as Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul

16:53 • 24/05

Armenian parliament to conduct special session

16:30 • 24/05

Armenian PM to conduct working trip to Russia

14:02 • 24/05

2017 economic forecasts positive for Armenia – economist

13:19 • 24/05

Trump Administration’s new budget slashes aid to Armenia

12:56 • 24/05

New business owners in Armenian village propose tourism development plans

12:02 • 24/05

OSCE to conduct monitoring on Line of Contact

11:52 • 24/05

62 European MPs convey concerns over Turkish hunger-striking educators’ arrest 

11:37 • 24/05

US congressman condemns DC attack, Erdogan, on House Floor

11:26 • 24/05

French journalist held in Turkey on hunger strike

11:08 • 24/05

Hraparak: Armenian Delegation to PACE to have four members

10:26 • 24/05

UCLA ASA demonstrates against Young Turks’ Ana Kasparian

09:59 • 24/05

Azerbaijan keeps Karabakh frontline under intense fire

09:47 • 24/05

Libya terror links claimed in Manchester attack

09:32 • 24/05

California Senate Budget Committee approves $3m for Armenian American nuseum

09:09 • 24/05

Queen Elizabeth responds to 'Dreadful' Bombing at Manchester Arena concert  

09:02 • 24/05

Eiffel Tower to go dark for Manchester Arena attack victims

18:21 • 23/05

Armenia has major contribution to security, says chief of CSTO country institute

17:01 • 23/05

Manchester United hold minute of silence for attack victims 

16:48 • 23/05

EU willing to expand cooperation with Armenia – Mogherini

16:22 • 23/05

Chinese submersible starts testing ahead of Mariana Trench dive

16:15 • 23/05

Serzh Sargsyan issues condolences to Theresa May

16:07 • 23/05

No serious progress in Karabakh talks – political analyst

15:33 • 23/05

Russia supplies weaponry to Armenia without delay – defense official

15:04 • 23/05

British police identify Manchester Arena attacker

14:53 • 23/05

Innovative irrigation system launched in Armenian village

14:37 • 23/05

Turkey seeks more active political role in South Caucasus - Armenian historian

13:58 • 23/05

LA art dealer gets jail for bilking clients out of $1 million

13:53 • 23/05

Nicole Kidman: ‘I still act like I’m 21’

13:04 • 23/05

Armenia revises stance on Karabakh peace – political analyst

12:27 • 23/05

US senator's earmark for Armenian Genocide education passes subcommittee hearing

12:18 • 23/05

Two Armenian start-ups named funding competition winners

11:58 • 23/05

Zhamanak: National Assembly planning layoffs

11:40 • 23/05

LA Chamber of Commerce cancels Turkey business forum in response to Krekorian’s concerns

11:30 • 23/05

Armenian ombudsman reported on violations of life-termer's rights

11:01 • 23/05

Greece fails to secure bailout funds

10:30 • 23/05

Turkish editors sentenced to 22 years  over a ‘anti-Erdogan’ revolt

10:10 • 23/05

US Senate Appropriations Committee threatens Turkey aid over DC attacks

09:55 • 23/05

Nagorno-Karabakh reports more Azerbaijani ceasefire violations  

09:23 • 23/05

Trump asked intelligence to deny collusion with Russia - reports

09:09 • 23/05

Manchester Arena blast: toll rises to 22, more people reported injured (updated)

17:50 • 22/05

School optimization plan aims to ensure quality education – official

17:07 • 22/05

Turkey: 966 detained in anti-Gulen witch hunt in Turkey in one week

16:50 • 22/05

Armenian arm-wrestlers win six medals in European Championship

16:26 • 22/05

Russia to supply Armenia with advanced air vehicles as part of CSTO cooperation

16:01 • 22/05

Rouhani's re-election is in Armenia's interests, says expert

14:30 • 22/05

Melania Trump's outfit choices gain praise from staunchly conservative Saudi media despite choosing to shun the headscarf

14:25 • 22/05

Man responsible for killing Russian pilot gets 5 years in jail

14:07 • 22/05

Armenian parliament passes army compensation bill

13:44 • 22/05

Turkmenistan: deputy PM reportedly commits suicide

13:32 • 22/05

Leaks expose Facebook moderation policy