Unsteady in Armenia

Since the dubious election, supporters of Ter-Petrosian have been occupying the main square in downtown Yerevan, trying to spark some Orange or Rose action.

Saturday morning, riot police apparently failed in a pre-dawn attempt to break up the protest and send everyone home. The confrontation escalated, and Eurasia.net is reporting two dead with “running street battles that involved shots fired and Molotov cocktails tossed. Military armored personnel carriers were also seen taking up positions in the capital.” Reuters is reporting only one person killed, while Associated Press confirms injuries but no fatalities; Voice of America cites other new reports of one dead.

Sarkisian, outgoing Prime Minister incoming President, has declared a 20-day state of emergency. The OSCE, through its current chairman the Finnish Foreign Minister, condemned the use of force against peaceful demonstrators. Reactions from other capitals are about what one would expect on a Saturday afternoon or evening, when there are dozens of casualties in the Middle East, Russia confirms its next president tomorrow, and Armenia is not much on anybody’s radar.

Our own Doug and Claudia Muir are in Yerevan, though a good distance from the city center. Developing.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Governments and parties, Political issues by Doug Merrill. Bookmark the permalink.

About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

3 thoughts on “Unsteady in Armenia

  1. Hi other-Doug,

    Claudia and the boys are fine — they flew out this morning for Germany.

    I didn’t even notice the state of emergency until evening — was working in the office. But downtown is now full of soldiers with AK-47s. Levon Ter-Petrosian is under house arrest, “for his own protection”.

    It’s hard to guess how this will go. The government is being clever in some ways (doing this on a Saturday, as you say) and stupid in others (they’re trying to claim that Ter-Petrosian’s supporters were heavily armed and trying to mount a coup, which is obvious nonsense). If I had to bet, though, I’d bet they’ll get away with it; Saakashvili did much the same thing last year, over the border in Georgia.

    Anyway, I’m good here for the moment — 3-4 km away from the center where the shooting was, and the lights (and, obviously, internet) are still on. Will post something in a day or two.

    Doug M.

  2. (10 hours later)

    Word here is that Levon Ter-Petrosian has asked his followers to stand down. If that’s true, it means the government has won.

    I’ll try a stroll downtown later today.

    Doug M.

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