On February 19, Armenia hosted a presidential election. The winner with 52% of the vote was (as expected), current Prime Minister and BFF to the current president, Serge Sargsyan
. The runner-up with 21.5% of the vote was former president (taken out by the current president in 1997), Levon Ter-Petrossian
. The elections were flawed, lots of people protested over the past week, the protests have gotten violent, LTP is under house arrest and the government has issued a 20 day state of emergency. At least 3 (including a police officer) have been killed.BBC story
, NYTimes story
(Western trained journalist, British and American editor, local reporters, UnZipped
, a local English language blog, OneWorld Armenia
, a British photojournalist's blog, Armenian Observer blog
does an excellent job summarizing the Armenian and Russian language blogospheres as well as reporting his own material in English with text, videos and photos, although it is worth noting that he is not a fan of either candidate. There are many LiveJournal bloggers blogging as well, but Armenian Observer will likely summarize them.
Armenian Observer has an excellent summary of the past week here
. Here are some highlights:
"The opposition protest, peaceful as it was, was held with violations of the RA Law on Gatherings and Peaceful protests. Usually, during the day, there would be from 20-40,000 opposition supporters gathering for the rally. The number tripled at least on one occasion, on February 26th, when people forcibly brought to the Republic square in Yerevan to support the pro-government candidate Serzh Sargsyan went over to join the rally in support of Serzh Sargsyan’s opponent - Ter-Petrossian."
"Despite numerous warnings from police, the President - the protesters stayed in the Liberty square day and night, sleeping in tents put up in the square and burning bonfires to get warm. During the 9 days of the protests, authorities launched a massive propaganda campaign against the Ter-Petrossian supporters, portraying protesters as armed rioters, drug addicts, alcoholics and homeless. Meanwhile a number of arrests of vocal opposition figures as well as Yerkrapah members (a union of former Karabakh war freedom fighters) were carried out. A case was reported, when State Security servicemen had joined the rally disguised, and tried to provoke the peaceful protesters for more aggressive actions, but had been prevented from doing so by organizers of the opposition rally."
"Today, after police strike, violence was reported, the opposition supporters tried to resist with stones and sticks. From what I know around 31 people have suffered so far, 6 of whom have been police officers. At the moment the Liberty square is chained by police forces."
"Police are claiming, that they had evidence about preparations by the opposition forces to distribute weapons and start violent actions. However, this morning during, and after the police attack on protesters, journalists were prevented from taking photos and videos, the camera of a Yerkir-Media TV operators was broken. Later, the police footage shows various types of weapons found in the Liberty square after police had cleared the place of the protesters, however, considering all the propaganda and dirty methods of police action we have seen so far, it is hard to believe, that this is not fabricated evidence."
"From various media reports we learn, that the police violently beat up those in the Liberty square and chased them down several streets. By 12 o’clock when I was near the French embassy, there were riot police forces blocking the area, with crowds of angry people squeezed between the police forces in front of the French embassy on Grigor Lusavorich street."