Thousands took to the streets of Yerevan on Sunday to remember last year’s post-election unrest in Armenia which left eight civilians and two policemen dead. With some opposition activists still behind bars, Armenia’s government is widely accused of doing little to investigate the clashes properly.
An A1Plus video of the start of the March 1, 2009 commemoration-protest
Unzipped, a moderate pro-opposition blogger, remembers the events of last year.
1 year on… We have yet to hear from the Armenian authorities a simple “Sorry” and “My condolences” for all 10 people who died on 1 March 2008…
Ditord was concerned a few weeks ago that the commemoration might not be so peaceful.
[…] [L]ooks like we’re in for an unsanctioned rally on March 1. Let’s hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst…
Fortunately, as Global Voices Online's Caucasus editor wrote on the Frontline Club blog, the day ended peacefully.
[…] security was high with reports of some roads into the capital being blocked by police and busloads of riot police parked close to the presidential palace. Water cannon trucks were also to be seen close to the Yerevan opera although police were not decked out in riot gear at the Matenadaran itself.
With the exception of one brief moment of tension when a crack squad of special police forces intervened in some incident during the march, the day passed without incident. […]
The blog of A1Plus [AM], a banned pro-opposition TV station, agrees and offers its own observation.
[…] ըստ ընդհանուր պատկերի, առանձնահատուկ զսպվածությամբ էին գործում ինչպես հանրահավաքի մասնակիցները, այնպես էլ ոստիկանության աշխատակիցները:
But Mark Grigorian [Ru], an Armenian journalist in exile, reminds his readers that many questions remain unanswered.
– Насколько конституционным было объявление чрезвычайного положения?
– Использовалась ли армия против демонстрантов (использование армии внутри страны противоречит Конституции)?
– Кто приказал стрелять?
– Кто стрелял?
– Кто убил?
– Какова степень личной ответственности разных людей из обоих лагерей в случившемся и, в первую очередь, в гибели людей.
– Какова степень институтциональной ответственности властей и оппозиции в случившемся?
- Were army forces [in addition to riot police] used against demonstrators (is it constitutional for army to go against its citizens)?
- Who ordered to shoot?
- Who shot?
- Who killed?
- What [was the] degree of a private responsibility of different people from both camps in what happened and, especially, in the destruction of people?
- What degree of institutional responsibility did the authorities and the opposition have in what happened?
Later in the day, Unzipped made a second post on the 1 March 2008 violence:
Despite unprecedented tragic consequences, restrictions of civil liberties, political prisoners, the movement had resulted in some important positive developments. It was an awakening for the society in hibernation for more than a decade. Number of genuine, albeit small, civil groups and initiatives were developed, particularly among youth, aimed at democratisation of our society.
For me, one of the main positive outcomes of the movement was the fact that Armenian government, authorities, started paying more attention to public opinion. […]