Armenia

From A Closer Look On Syria
Jump to: navigation, search

Electric Yerevan

The so-called "Electric Yerevan" was a wave of protests in the capital of Armenia late June/early July 2015. It was suspected by many to be an instance of US-backed "color revolution" regime change attempts.

Protests were triggered by raising electricity prices, by some 16%. Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan offered concessions, including hiring international auditors to determine whether raise were justified; in the meantime during the audit, expected to last 3-6 months, electricity will be subsidized. However, protesters still occupied Bagramian square in central Yerevan. They were told that the gathering is illegal and will be dispersed by police tonight. People still stayed. Some reportedly 'professional' protesters trying to impose political demands, and having trouble-making history, were shown on Russia24 TV -Vesti channel. Protesters interviewed on camera appear to confirm that protests are economic; although some try to make it anti-Russian (or anti -Turkish, or anti-Ukrainian, according to statements by a lady in the crowd in that report)

  • Foreign NGO involvement is alleged/suggested by Russian MSM sources
  • Protesters are getting free food, water, provided by activists. Students are on a watch out against provocations.
  • Those interviewed appear to talk about economic issues only.
  • Police is saying that some protesters in front rows have /may have explosives.
  • Armenian PM says some people among Yerevan protesters seek to destabilize the country TASS-English
  • Electric grid in Armenia is owned by 'Electric Networks of Armenia', which is an affiliate of the Russian Inter-RAO company. Management decisions and style of Evgenii Bilibin, General Director of Electric Networks of Armenia, was criticized for what was viewed as inefficiency and spending excesses.
  • Nationalization of electric grid was discussed by president Serzh Sargsyan; a rich Armenian businessman expressed an interest to buy it.

Live streams: Azatutyun Radiokayan channel-new streams daily (the one from July 5 is linked on the right and above); 1in.am Armenian News & Analyses-runs continuously

Night of 28.6 -morning of 29.6. Protesters were told to leave Bagramian Avenue, or face removal by force. Protesters split, sone of them moved to Freedom Square, some returned to Bagramian. Police did not use force. In the morning, police officers emerged, apparently to demand return of garbage containers used to build barricades. Protesters went on top of the containers to prevent this. There was some megaphone shouting, but no violence. Police cordoned off the area leading to Bagramian Avenue. Some people, appeared to be activists, still stay; not too many of them can be still seen there at Bagramian Avenue.

4.7 Protesters say that at least one of their demands (keeping/reducing electricity tariffs, investigating/punishing police for confrontation, ...) should be satisfied, or else they will move garbage bin barricade a step a day towards presidential palace. The palace is on Bagramian Avenue (map); as well as the protest; so they do have a chance to get their in reasonable time at such rate.

6.7 It is reported that police removed garbage bin barricade, arrested some protesters--most were released in the evening. Earlier, a tip was received on possible provocations. Unknown is this over at this point.

Also: an 'odious' Russian businessman/farmer/'old faith' Christian dreamer Sterligov suddenly ran away to Nagornyi Karabakh, in anticipation or fear of some unspecified problems-some say due to his support of radical nationalist causes and possibly him investigated for violence.

Events

17 July, 2016. Police department in Yerevan was captured by about 30 armed men following arrest of non-system opposition leader Jirayr Sefilyan (Жирайр Сефилян in Russ. spelling) , who was arrested for illegal weapons possession. At some point, talk about armed apprising heard, and social media said to be used to spread such rumors; officially denied. One policeman was killed, two wounded. Preparations to unblock police department by force have been made. Said to be 6 hostages, including assistant head of police of Armenia Vartan Egizarian. Negotiations are under way.

TASS updates
News.am (English)
Live stream (ended)
Live stream (started)

20 July, 2016. About 50 people, half of them policemen, needed medical attention after protesters and police clashed in the area of the (still) captured police station -report and photos; report and live feed .

22 July, 2016 "Armenian opposition stages another rally in Yerevan", TASS (Engl). Provides details including injuries, arrests, stepping down of a protest organizer Nikola Pashinyan, MP of Armenia.

23 July, 2016. All hostages are released, in exchange for nearby press center.

29 July 2016. Situation is still unresolved, building is still controlled by militiamen, with marches of support elsewhere from time to time. On July 27, armed men seized ambulance crew which arrived to the seized police station to treat a wounded, demanded minister of health to show up. The minister arrived but police cordon around the building did not let him through. Eventually there was a fire exchange and one further militant was wounded. Armenian national security service demanded that militants put down arms and surrender, otherwise they will be to blame for possible heavy consequences -TASS (Rus)

30 July, 2016. Ultimatum time expired. So far, another policeman killed by a sniper, and a failed self-immolation by a protester for the day. According to earlier reports, in the evening police and 1-2 thousand protesters separated by some 150 m in Baghramyan Ave, central Yerevan. This is possibly seen at around 2:00:00 of the finished video feed

31 July, 2016. Armed men decided to surrender, said will continue their struggle as 'prisoners of war' . That was announced by one from the group, Varuzhan Avetisyan.

Appeals

Dramatic multimedia appeal by Ekoz'yants, Kharkov resident of an Armenian descent (English subs).- Warns against repeating Maidan.

Sources