Today is 1 March, and the day was probably quieter than anyone expected. Hovannisian held his “open press conference” at noon at Freedom Square where he answered the questions of anyone who wanted to come up to the mic. During that time, he criticized foreign powers, criticized the government for using the pretext of national security to scare people and delegitimize the protests, and vowed that no Armenian’s blood will be spilled on Armenian land. Then he led a march to Myasnikyan square and to a church to pray for the victims of 1 March 2008. It would have been insane for the government to repeat the actions of 2008, and one commentator said that Sargsyan knew what Kocharyan was planning five years ago and had learned from his predecessor’s mistake. The rally tomorrow is expected to be much bigger, as people don’t need to cut out from work to attend.
As mentioned before, the ANC cancelled its event and told its supporters to join with Hovannisian’s event. Interesting, and significantly, Levon Ter-Petrossian did not attend the event. Hovannisian has made a conscious choice to not associate himself with the ANC and, especially, all the baggage that comes with Levon Ter-Petrossian. While there are some hardcore Levonites, most Armenians think negatively of him and remember the corruption and poverty that occurred during his presidency.
One Republican commentator noted that this five-year anniversary brings a sense of “closure” to the killings. While he acknowledges the lack of any legal restitution, he acknowledges a sense of political closure. A Rule of Law MP (aligned with the Republicans) views the matter as completely closed. There is still the issue about the textbook that is heavily against the protestors. The parents of the victims said they were going to sue the textbook, but I can’t find any updates on a possible suit.
Yesterday, the comedian/performer (and overall good guy) Vardan Petrosyan spoke to the crowd. He was speaking as a normal person, and as a normal person he was proud that a movement had begun that is making Armenians shake off their indifference. Videos and pictures of yesterday are available all over.
Heritage has drawn a line and said that they will not decrease the pressure for government positions, not wanting to “cooperate with thieves.” ARF-D also views itself as part of the “new opposition” with Heritage.
- RFE/RL has a longer analysis of the BAREVolution.
- Sara Anjargolian has a great montage of photos from Raffi’s recent trip to the regions.
- People are spreading guides and pamphlets for non-violent civil disobedience on facebook. It’ll be interesting to see how this movement organically develops, especially if Raffi does something to remove himself from it.