Protests in Armenia


So this morning I woke up to this news and learnt that many of my friends were arrested and injured during the clean up by Armenian police that was very aggressive, beating up anyone on the street and water cannons were directed towards people. Watch the video here and here.

Right now over 300 people are still in police stations throughout Yerevan as well as in the regions as there is no more space in Yerevan.  Some people are still missing,as nobody knows where they were taken. The arrested people in the police stations were all charged with hooliganism and their phones are taken away so they have no contact with the outside world. Their requests for a lawyer have not been satisfied. @Enli offered her services as a lawyer in case someone need it.

Some journalists and cameramen were arrested too and lots of equipment was broken/damaged or confiscated. Lots of injured people in the hospitals. The whole city is full of police both in uniforms and under cover.


We are gathering at 6 PM at the Freedom Square (alternatively Northern Avenue or Russian Embassy if Freedom square remains blocked by the police as of now) and continue the protest against the rise of the tariff on electricity by 17-22 percent from August 1, 2015. The rumor is it is going to be violent(i hope not as I’m going to be with my 2 y.o. daughter) and people want to demand the resignation of the current government of Serj Sarkissian which is corrupt and manipulated by the Russian government.

There is a facebook group for the meeting tonight but other than that people are not organised and there is no plan for action. There is a website in Armenian explaining how to behave in case one is arrested during the demonstrations and other useful information for activists.

If someone has a constructive idea of what can be done, do not hesitate to share.

I will keep you posted.

Anna

2 Likes

Update

Currently about 8 people are in reanimation with injuries of head, broken bones and damaged eyes. One person has a serious head trauma and was transported to Armenia medical center.

We are on our way to join the crowd @ Freedom square.

Leave your phone at home, and ask a “harmless acquaintance”

…who might be undecided on the issue to bring his/hers. If they are using a lot of undercover people, chances are they are expecting this to get worse and are making lists. Lists are of course bad news. Phones should be correctly referred to as “trackers” in situations like this, by the way. I assume the more experienced people in that place already know this stuff better than I do (+ for the relevant location/legislation) but I’ll just add my two cent, err, luma…

Looking at the video I did see some (but little) clearly (pointlessly) aggressive behavior in some of the uniformed, but more in the plain-clothes + “weimar” badge parts. The latter (and often some special units) are usually more closely aligned with the political aspects of such issues. The guys in uniform are mostly “just taking official orders & doing their jobs” the way that police is supposed to. At least that is my perception and general experience. Watching for clearly pointless aggressive behavior (which can be difficult to spot, to document, and to assign correctly) is often highly informative. What never hurts is to support any de-escalating initiatives and actions on the streets. Not as in “backing down”, but as in “clearly demonstrating and documenting moral superiority”. Ir helps to know what they think.

I would also like to know why they used so much plainclothes officers. I don’t think that is a good idea at all. There are good reasons for having a uniform when doing this sort of thing, no?

Also it struck me that the protesters (and press) did not seem to anticipate the response they got. The fact that the watercannon went directly to high power without much provocation seems to indicated that “you did not do anything wrong” but they had this planned beforehand. A picture series with a picture every 0.5s (starting at 39) would perhaps communicate this effectively*. Usually you moderate the pressure to be able to dis/encourage compliant behavior. The watercannon model looked relatively new (perhaps someone was thinking ahead when all the corru-, err, building projects started a little while ago) and should be able to do that.

The plainclothes guys did not seem to be after anyone in particular (usually their job) but basically just take people from the edge of the group. That is normally the job of uniformed (and protected!) officers.

Other things to do are of course, getting some legal rep and make sure the phone number is known (and on people’s skin). Making sure you can trust them, and having a backup just in case.

And do try and blur faces of the stuff that is put online if things start to get messy. There is software to do that. You could print a few links to that on a piece of paper and give it to the people with cameras. You might also want to start waterproofing/foam-protecting your cameras a little - so that they are still ready to use when things get messier.

If I am correct this is at least in part a fallout of the trade sancions vs Russia. This would make the situation smell more like Ukraine. Again - this would be bad news and I would recommend searching youtube a little for Dr. Daniele Ganser (I don’t agree on everything with him but it is a under-represented view on things I would say).

If on the other hand this is just a corporate price hike, demand data, transparency, and accountability - think that is badly needed.

You have water power - which is dirt cheap once you have it and can balance less reliable power sources (e.g. wind). I mean if US studies show that you have wind potential and then Iran even goes and builds a wind park (when they could be selling you oil!) - what else to you need?! Get crackin!

I mean you have an old nuclear power station…  -wait, I just started reading the wiki entry. You have a reactor WITHOUT primary containment next to your frickin capital?! Well, at least everyone will know what is up when they hear it go bang. On a day like today you’d have about 3 hours to get your affairs in order.

Well it does seem someone important has attested that “everything will be fine”. I somehow doubt such an assessment, especially in the light of developments that make it look like corner may be cut and profits maximized, at the general public’s expense. Not to raise any geopolitical concerns combined with public unrest, fanned by heavy handed police tactics.

I can try to connect someone+something to connections I have in wind at dong, GE, or senvion. But since the nuclear dudes are already pretty far along though, it would have to be something substantial before anything can seriously compete with them (+ they are not known for playing “nice”). And in all honesty - I would tread very carefully in your shoes. Especially when the wind blows from the West. The Iranians would of course be another option. How is the general public opinion on this matter? For what it is worth: No wind turbine tell over in Fukushima…

*The lady with the handbag - never underestimate the power of the slightly bored, apolitical, and silent majority on this sort of thing, if you can involve them gracefully.

2 Likes

Update 24/06/15


What a night, what a night!

We gathered at Freedom square at 6PM yesterday and after all of the arrested activists were freed and joint us, we marched towards Baghramyan ave where the Presidential House is located. There were around 20 000 people(versus 2000-3000 people that gathered the day before) mostly young people of 20-30 y.o. with no political affiliation as well as families with kids(I was so glad I took along my daughter despite everybody advising me against it!).

I explain this by the fact that media(TV/Radio) did not cover the event and the gathering of yesterday was not even mentioned except the facebook event and older people do not use social media, so it took some time for the older people to join, but they were eventually there too!

The way to the Presidential House was of course blocked and barricaded by the water cannons and fully armed policemen. All the streets leading to the building were in fact closed. So we stopped there and the peaceful march turned into a peaceful sit in with some awesome guys playing drums throughout the night that gave the gathering an amazing uplifting spirit. We danced and sang and chanted slogans like “Free and Independent Armenia” and “We are the owners of our country”.

Nothing really happened till we left at midnight though I couldn’t help wondering why there are no famous people joining us as I strongly believe they would uplift the people’s spirits and help them stay secure(together with families with children - as Armenians have traditional values and I don’t think they would attack us if there were children among us).

When I got home after midnight, some activists did invite influential actors and artists to join and they finally did, together with some priests and other famous people. This was a living wall to protect the peaceful crowd from any aggression from the side of the police/army.

There were even some deputies and the minister of Education and Science that tried to join but this was met with the crowds’ shouting “Get out from here! You are not one of us! There is no place for you among us”. So well done! As indeed those politicians are part of the problem and were only trying to win the people’s hearts by being there. Where were they on June 22 early morning? It’s not like they did not know what was happening at that time!

People also built barricades out of garbage cans they brought from all over the district to protect themselves from the police attack. I even noticed a girl with a tennis racket, which was apparently meant to be used as a weapon.

The best part is that everyone was collaborating and helping each other - early morning the demonstrators cleaned the whole street from the rubbish, they are taking shifts, bringing food and drinks for the ones staying there. A great initiative was posted online today from a bar on Baghramyan ave inviting all the protesters to come and drink water, charge their phones and get some rest if they want.

To cut it short, the protest was quite a success and it is apparent that the government will have to reconsider the decision to raise the rates of electricity. But this is not all we ask for: we also demand that the chief policemen in charge of June 22 operation be fired and initiating a criminal case against him and other policemen who made lots of illegal actions during the arrests as well as in the police stations where the activists were held for 7 hours or more even though no charges were made and they were considered witnesses only(some were eventually charged with a criminal case).

We are gathering today again at 18:30 at Freedom Square and will march to Baghramyan ave to raise awareness and involve more people. Here is the facebook event for tonight.

Anna

Is the problem solved?

@Iriedawta, this sounds really uplifting but… why did the government want to raise the price of electricity? From an environmentalist standpoint, expensive non-renewable energy is a good thing, because it incentivizes people to consume less of it, which means fewer greenhouse gases. From a public budget point of view, it is also a good thing, because more revenue can free up resources for incentivizing other things that do not damage the natural environment, like welfare. I am not taking sides, here (except in being happy that detained people were released!): I really do not know anything about the issue. But I can’t help noticing that the information that have been coming through say nothing about energy. If the problem was one of energy policy, it is still unsolved. Which means others, down the line, might be tempted to tamper with energy prices again, or do something even more destructive.

In Edgeryders, we like to think we can help solving problem, collaborating with anyone who cares about those problems and wishes to do something about them. We also have some expertise in some areas, but without a well-defined issue to chew on we cannot help!

2 Likes

Thank you @trythis for your comment. So all the activists are freed and the protesters kept the avenue blocked yesterday morning thanks to the human chain made by some politicians and famous figures in order to protect the crowd.

I’ve heard that the “police” in plain clothes were actually body guards of some of the members of the government thus their unorganized and unlawful actions towards the peacefully demonstrating crowd on June 23. The reason they started the water cannon and arrests was that the people were still blocking the avenue by 5AM and it was against the law as all the protests must be approved by the government and this one was of course not. Also there is a law forbidding noise after 11PM so that’s when the police warned the protesters that they need to go home and they refused to do so. The main objective of the police was to clear the street for the morning traffic but their actions were not justified.

The sit in was completely peaceful and the protesters did not do any vilent action and they were indeed caught by surprise by the water cannons and the police actions. There was a large panic as even though people left the street , they were still chased by the police and dragged to the police vans violently (lots of friends had bruises, broken bones and torn clothes) and some injured protesters got medical assistance only after several hours in the police stations.

The police officers have strict orders NOT to support the protesters thus we can not count on them for any help. Any interaction with them is met with dead silence and is ignored.

The other problem is that Russian oriented media presents the protest as something similar to the uprising in Georgia and Ukraine WHICH IS NOT THE CASE AT ALL and this causes a lot of confusion for people who are not participating. Just to clarify: the protest has no political context, no anti- Russian or pro western movement is organized: just internal business(people protesting against the decision of the government to raise the electricity rates). No political issues are raised: just business sector’s issues.

Of course, there are some people that would shout slogans like “Serj go away!” but it’s only a minority and those are the people who have some affiliations with other political groups. The majority of people as I have already mentioned have no political affiliations and demand reconsideration of the decision about the electricity rates.

@Alberto The people demand data transparency, and accountability and refuse to pay for the debts of the badly managed ENA which belongs to Russia. See more details here. There is a popular facebook campaign urging people to turn off electricity every day from 19:00 to 00:00 suggesting that even if you turn off for 3 hours per day during a month, the government will beg us to use their electricity. It is already clear that no hike of rates will happen(they say the president will speak up today or tomorrow) but we are also asking for the head of the police who is to blame for the violent clean up on June 23 be fired and a criminal case against him and his team is opened.

And yes, I’ve noticed some posters about alternative energy in the crowd. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Not not political

Unfortunately when it come to fundamental issues like (electrical) power there are no unpolitical contexts. It always is political and your situation does very much look like Ukraine to me. Being energy dependent on Russia, standing up to local government, sense of community, and peaceful protest all the same. I am not saying any of this is wrong. I am saying be careful. You may feel like “another Berlin Wall” may come down any moment, and a free and fair society is about to spread its wings. These things can drastically change after some unknown persons produce 100-200 dead bodies in a day or two. This is commonly not known but in Germany there was a long series of coincidences that softly paved the way for a peaceful solution. A few months earlier a Tiananmen style response would have been more likely. You always have to consider things from two sides at minimum.

Regarding the price of electricity:

You’ll be paying 0.1 $ per kW/h so approx 200 $ per year per capita. With a PPP GDP of 6000 $ per capita that is 3.3%. It is not very far from e.g. Germany’s 2.4% (only citizens, industry will probably push it some a similar value). Although it is true that most other countries of similar GDP per capita pay a smaller fraction. Moldova pays a good bit more if I am correct. Perhaps you can see if there a saving methods you can adopt?

In general I would lean towards a “expensive electricity is good” point of view. But only with the caveat of transparency and responsible investment of the money (e.g. renewable energy). Because otherwise you just end up using your children’s electricity at a higher rate, and depriving them of future possibilities.

Boycotting/reducing the use of electricity sounds good. If we had a nice economic system we would probably be able to do some deal that says: We use less, you produce less, and therefore we pay less (per unit of energy). But we’ve generally tied ourselves to growth and expansion…

Regarding kids on protests:

I think that this is a very good idea in general, but one has to be extra careful of course. But sometimes protest is a civic duty, and excluding families a priori is not a good idea. I probably does a lot on the subconscious level to keep it peaceful as well, and communicates that it is not just a fringe opinion/phenomenon of frustrated male youth.

2 Likes

You gotta be kidding me!

Read this re political context: http://www.veteranstoday.com/2015/06/24/us-freeing-armenia/ [shady source] , http://www.gov.am/en/news/item/7948/ (publication of contract?)

Now I cannot confirm much of this info, except the VN visit (US state dep). You need transparency! Who raised what prices? How was the dam sold? Why (TF) was the dam sold? etc., etc. Talk to transparency int or the Swiss anti corruption orgs, and/or try to get UN observers in.

If you think 17% price hikes are harsh…

If you can’t get that, I suggest stocking up on supplies (+ water cause the dams might go) and digging a basement if you don’t have one already. Ask @nataliegryvnyak for details if you need them.

If you search the Red Cross/Crescent site there are manuals on forensics, and other things good to know in conflict zones. I am not trying to be alarmist, but preparedness goes a long way. Plus you can do this while protesting. (You could of course also do interviews)

2 Likes

Difficult…

Building a market system around utilities is a sophisticated operation. If memory serves, Italy (never a model of virtue anyway), divided the old electricity company into:

  1. a generation arm, running powers stations. Power generation was made a competitive market: you can build your own power station and start selling, though of course all standards are heavily regulated.
  2. a distribution arm, running the power grid. The grid is largely a natural monopoly, so this part is owned by a state-owned company.
  3. a "last mile" commercial arm. This was also made competitive.
  4. a "electricity stock exchange", with operators who generate electricity sell KWH to those selling it to final consumers. Nowadays this is quite sophisticated; for example, some companies offer users electricity coming 100% from renewable sources, which means that they need to be able to buy renewable KWHs on the stock market.
  5. on top of all that, they stuck a regulation authority modelled on OFGEM in the UK.

What I’m getting at is that there is no simple way to “solve” the problem, even without invoking foreign interests – which could very well be at work here. Any solution that looks simple and fast is very likely to be bad. But this is only reinforcing my sense of unease; well-meaning, generous citizens risk becoming the instruments of deep games they don’t understand.

Not that I have anything to propose, unfortunately sad.

2 Likes

It’s difficult b/c it’s complex, but it does not have to be …

I wonder why people prefer these complex conflicts to simple solutions … . In the case of this electricity price hike, there is so much power dynamics, politics, international relations, lobbyism, power struggle etc. involved that probably nobody knows all the relevant parts of this complexity mess. But on the bottom, access to electricity is a technological problem.

And the technological solution to it looks so much simpler to me than months or years of power struggle with government. Just produce your own electricity, and use about 90% less of it. I am quite happy year-round with 400 W§ of photovoltaics panels now … including for heavy computer use, LED lighting, fridge and DC power tools.

Is that a new approach, or is there a sub-movement in Armenia promoting local energy autarky already? I bet there is!

4 Likes

Update 25/06/15

Yesterday on June 24 the crowd was even bigger than on June 23. People are in elevated spirits chanting, singing and dancing. One thing is clear - there are no leaders and no one really knows how long this will go on and what will be the outcome. A committee is being formed to meet with the president and present our demands. The barricades made of garbage bins are still there and the avenue remains closed with the army and police blocking the ways to the presidential house.


Nobody tries to lead this and it’s a good thing in a way as some political parties start to appear and try to win people’s hearts with their ideas and taking advantage of the situation to promote their ideas.

I think it is super important for Armenian people to wake up and just be there as individuals and citizens of their country, each one for himself, united to protest against this injustice.

The number of people attending increases day by day and this is already a positive factor as the government will have to react to this sooner or later(they say today or tomorrow the president will address this issue).

There is a great sense of comradeship among the protesters, everybody shares food, drinks, blankets, etc I think this is the first time I see Armenian people so united. Here are some photos from the past couple of days.

The morning came without any incidents and we are going to be there today as well as the peaceful sit in continues till we receive an answer to our demands.

Lots of families, even more children, there is a guy who came with color chalks and children were drawing on the asphalt right in the middle of the protest. All the nearby shops and venues collaborate too, either by donating stuff or by letting the participants of the protest to use their venue(charging phones, restrooms, etc).

There was even a live concert organized by one of the clubs last night. So yeah, all is going well and even though we lack organisation and do not clearly know what will be the outcome of all this, it is already good to see that people care for this issue as everyone will have to pay the bills in the end if we do not do nothing about it.

Most important - there is no fear of the government, police,etc which was so rooted in our society.

Will keep you posted whenever I can.

Cheers,

Anna

1 Like

#ElectricYerevan vs Maidan

@trythis thanks again! Just wrote a text that I lost due to bad connection+ typing directly in the platform. Will mention the main points and will elaborate if needed tomorrow.

  1. Yes, ENA is owned by a Russian company but its manager could as well be Armenian so our protest is not anti-Russian in any way. Here’s a good read. It’s the Armenian government that failed to manage it properly and is in debt now and tries to get the money from people which is not fair. We demand transparency, investigation and punishment of the ones who are responsible for this. Some 200. 000 Euros are missing and this money did not just evaporate.

  2. Indeed, there are lots of provocateurs  hidden in the crowd and we expect them to act accordingly so as to trigger the reaction of the police and start a conflict. Lots of undercover police among us. The president just got back from Brussels, let’s see what he has to say tomorrow.

  3. Electricity rates have risen already 3 times in the past 4 years! We used to pay 20AMD and we pay 40AMD now which is the double of what we paid a couple of years ago and if they apply the new rates we will pay 17% more, i.e. 48 AMD.

Consider the salary in Armenia(an average of 250 USD) and what we pay for electricity in a month in winter(120$) and the increase of some 40-50 USD would be totally unaffordable for the majority. Please, note there are the pensioners receiving only 70$ per month and many other disadvantaged classes who would need to starve to have lights and warm their houses. There are no discounts for those people whatsoever!

  1. Russian-oriented media pictures our protest similar to the one in Ukraine/Georgia for one of the two reasons below:
  • They are unable to review something without the connotation of the opposition Russia vs US

  • They are proving to the world US paid money for this uprising to happen to justify any interference in the future(political and military) in order to “save” Armenia

Do you know about any good examples of alternative/renewable energy used in large communities? Will try to find someone in developing it here and give them your contacts as you said you have some links that might be helpful.

  1. This is easy - we agree. I would go easy on the punishment side in favor of more transparency from now on.

  2. Undercover police can be a good thing too. At least it means information flow from the ground level to the decision makers is there. As you did not take the offer of meeting them in a small group that is critical. I would also suggest reconsidering that decision. If these people meet them on your terms (fully wired and transparent), what do you have to lose? You can always agree to disagree?

  3. I agree that this is harsh, but in the larger context this is where the overwhelming majority of us is heading. Some faster, some slower, and some with a head start. I am quite sure that very, very few people will be heating with electricity in a few decades. It is madness. Unless you use heat pumps, which I don’t think the people in question are doing. If you don’t become more energy independent in the future - you will get hurt. One way or another. Almost always the short term cheapest and most effective way to become more energy independent is to use less energy. The alternative is doubling the price and building renewables (or as in your case nuclear power plants - but I don’t think that’ll make you more independent) with the money. There are no easy fixes.

  4. That may be so, but as one says in the US: “Even a broken clock is right two times a day.”

I am not in a position to say anything with certainty, but I would urge you to check out the peace science/historian I referenced earlier.

About energy for large communities: I strongly suggest you look closely at wind + heat pumps + insulation + solar thermal heating, and if it is possible to bridge some of the downtime with the other power sources you have available. If you have anyone organized in this regard it would be interesting what his/her take is on the situation, and I could discuss further details. There are options to involve or not involve the USA there. Russia is unfortunately pretty weak in this regard - but China has significant capacities.

1 Like

the dancing revolution

Check this video to see the spirit of the protesters last night.

Some more photos

Listening to live music @ 1 Baghramyan avenue with my baby girl! She loves to chant “Azat, ankakh Hayastan!”(Free, independent Armenia) and shake her little fist!wink


More


This girl is a dance teacher in Yerevan, so cool to see diversity @ the demonstration!


An amazing photoshop “The game of Serj” with president Serj Sarkisyan, Putin and the head of Armenian police on the right. Serj has “ENA/Armenian Electric Networks” logo on his dress :smiley:


1 Like

Undercover police can never be a good thing in Armenia

@trythis we refused to meet with the president for a reason. As I’ve already mentioned we had had bad experience with the activists that did agree to meet with the president during previous protests. The activists were blackmailed and threatened to stop otherwise their family and friends would be hurt.

We are now forming a delegation to meet the president in case he agrees to have it transparent.

The undercover police has strict instructions to provoke the crowd and lead it into a clash with the police. The do this in the hopes of receiving a reward in the future(being able to establish a business without any hindrance from the government, etc). Kind of zombies that do not want to interact or understand anything about the reasons of the protest.

Undercover

I tend to agree that they are not a good thing overall.

BUT: They are not zombies. Any peaceful protester, and any ruthless general should always, always, always have empathy for the enemy. Even out of pure self interest.

I’ll wait if you can find someone who is involved with the energy situation on a technical level. The dance did look very cool by the way. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Electric Yerevan update 02/07/15

Sorry guys, had no time to post an update as I was too busy attending the debates during the protests + taking care of a sick baby :frowning:

Here are the latest developments in ‪#‎ElectricYerevan‬

- The old “No to Plunder” steering committee is formally dissolving.

- The Freedom sqaure sit-in (which originated on June 28 through provocations) is declared over. 

- The members of the old committee that were at Freedom square are joining the Baghramyan crowd as participants.

- A new steering committee is being formed, which includes members of old group plus wider involvement from other social movements.

- Daily general assemblies will be taking place on Baghramyan Ave.

- #ElectricYerevan name formally adopted by new steering committee. 

- Last couple of nights were spent self-organizing into working groups and discussing next steps.

- Demands still the same: (1) The repeal of the electricity fare hike (2) Review of the current fare, to find ways to lower it. (3) The police officers (including plain clothes officers and those who gave orders) responsible for the crackdown against protesters last week must be held to account according to the letter of the law.


The journalists are slowly abandoning the avenue, foreign media says the protest is being dissolved and there are less and less people @ Baghramyan(2000-3000 thousand vs 20000-25000 people several days ago when the “No to Plunder” committee was still together). Molotov cocktails and street fights were expected and many seem to be disappointed but what actually happened is that the government tried to disperse the crowd by splitting the members of “No to Plunder” hoping that people will go home or just stay @ Freedom square thus opening Baghramyan ave.

On June 28 right after the President said he will subsidize the electricity price hike from the budget(i.e. our taxes) faking a solution by a word game, everyone expected police violence after 11PM if the avenue stays occupied. Around 7-8PM at Baghramyan one of the members of “No to Plunder” made an announcement that we need to form groups for public discussion and decide on our future actions(to stay or leave, formulating the demands, etc). They have already stated that they will stay with the majority and support us no matter what we decide on. So I walk away from the stage and try to see what groups are discussing. Not even 5 minutes later, I hear some people shouting “Freedom Square” and I see a line of people led by the member of “No to Plunder” walking all the way out of the avenue and towards the Freedom square taking with them half of the protesters. A panic raised in the crowd as people were deciding what to do next, while around 500+ police officers surrounded the protesters that did stay at the avenue, banging on their shields with batons, trying to scare the crowd and make people leave, and we were basically blocked from both sides with no way out. Yes, this part was really scary, but I knew that if we stay on the sidewalk the police can not touch us + they have no right to attack peaceful protesters, so people just sat on the street and waited.

Half an hour later, almost the whole crowd that left for Freedom Square+ more people came to join the protest at the avenue. This was a thrilling experience indeed. Police was blocking their way from entering and joining the rest but they eventually broke through. I actually hugged an old lady standing next to me out of joy to see my people uniting again.

But there was still a small crowd @ Freedom square together with the members of “No to Plunder” and the media focused all their attention on them purposefully, misinforming people by stating that the protest moved to Freedom square and the few ones left @ Baghramyan ave were drugged, extremist and looking to get beaten by the police. I couldn’t believe my ears on the way home listening to the radio in the taxi. Baghramyan was fuller than ever and the media is telling us it’s all over and the President solved our issues and this is victory!

Of course, nothing happened by 11PM as the police could not dare to attack such a huge crowd full of women and children. But the members of “No to Plunder” were gone(apparently they were blackmailed by the government - you stop this or you and your family will pay for it +reward(position, etc) and in case you tell anyone about this it will be even worse -  though they do not admit - I talked to one of them yesterday and he just said they are not leading the movement but are around and try to organize public discussions throughout the country).

After June 28 things got even more hectic. Without a leader and ready made decisions people tried to form groups and discuss the further actions but there were lots of provocateurs inside the crowd that made people’s attention shift from the main topic. Also without the “leaders” we were deprived from all kind of audio equipment (loudspeakers, etc) which they took with them but we got some now.

From June 30 and till today intelligent and competent people gather together and discuss the agenda and further actions and I consider this as a victory as finally we try to self-organize and reach a consensus. Nobody is taking about having a leader and it’s all about self-organisation.

I tried to bring around the alternative/renewable energy but no interest so far unfortunately, looking for interested people who could actually help and I will get back to you both @Matthias and @trythis so that we can maybe have a skype call/google hangout and see how we can proceed. I think we will go for crowdfunding as the Armenian diaspora is ready to help so this is the best way to go + each building that will agree to have the solar panels installed(or any other alternative that is cheaper) will contribute as much as they can.

And here’s an article about the recent developments.

Will keep you posted.

Cheers,

Anna

Energy colonization of Armenia

How it all got started http://hetq.am/eng/news/10119/energy-colonization-or-a-mutually-profitable-deal.html and how things are at the moment http://www.epress.am/en/2015/07/08/armenian-power-utility-sells-electricity-on-the-side-falsifies-losses-opposition-mp-claims.html

More protests

So today people gathered again at Freedom square at 18:30 (the Facebook event had over 2900 people going)  and then marched to Baghramyan ave and here we are again: same organizers, same demands in the same place - blocked in the beginning of Baghramyan ave not to be able to proceed to the Presidential Palace. Again there were the water cannons and many many robocops, in fact 100 times more police than protesters gathered with overly protective gear and police cars and buses flashing everywhere…


I am kind of suspicious of all this: the timing (constitutional changes coming up that will make the reign of the current regime eternal), the electricity price hikes that were promised to be subsidized but the promise was not kept - sounds like distracting attention from the real issues. Same people leading who only months ago decided to withdraw, now suddenly back…


Taking into consideration that the last time prolonged closure of Baghramyan was used to negotiate/secure some funds and concessions from Moscow…but these all are side effects…if this time this does not turn into resignation demand or at least demand to abolish the constitutional reforms, then it is lost game again…


Don’t know anything for sure yet but will keep you posted!

2 Likes