Yesterday, Raffi had called on students to walk out of school and that’s what they did. I sadly couldn’t attend the protest, but I was one of the 1600 people watching on the live stream. I’m not the only one who couldn’t attend the protest as education directors told students that they’d face negative consequences, with the possibility of expulsion, if they attended the rally. If fear wasn’t enough, supposedly the police blocked the doors to the medical university, forcing students to jump the side fence to get out and attend the rally. Pictures of the students jumping the fence are all over facebook. [Addition: supposed photo of jumping and a video of the protest]. This minor escalation of force by the police isn’t enough to start fears of another March 1 event, but Raffi still declared yesterday that he’d sacrifice his life to prevent bloodshed. Hopefully the situation never develops where he has to follow through with his promise.
Yesterday was also an important day because it was the first day of the new session of the National Assembly. Unsurprisingly, the National Assembly was totally consumed with the election. Oppositional MPs are pushing for an extraordinary sitting to resolve the election, with Republicans wanting to get past the issue.
Yesterday should also be important because that is when the CEC announced the official results. But, as everyone already knew they were simply going to reiterate the preliminary results, nothing interesting was said. They did reject Raffi’s call for the disqualification of Sargsyan and, more importantly, stated that there were only 10 applications for vote recounts and that those recounts could not change the overall result.
One open question is what Prosperous Armenia is going to do. They’ve been vague with their empty “pledge to stand by the people.” Prosperous, a party full of businessmen and a former coalition partner with the Republican Party, doesn’t want to paint itself as a bunch of oppositionists. And, it’s leaders definitely don’t want to be seen as following Raffi. In comparison, considering ARF-D and ANCs near-irrelevance, they’re quite happy to join with Raffi. Vartan Oskanian (the one being investigated by the NSS, an investigation possibly started to ensure Oskanian doesn’t run for president), a member of Prosperous Armenia, met with OSCE, likely to help them understand the public anger and save face when they publish the final report.