20 April, 2018 15:06

LIVE BLOG. Rallies in Yerevan, April 20

CivilNet continues to cover protest rallies in Yerevan with direct video and text updates from the ground as they happen.

On the evening of April 19, at the evening rally in Republic Square, Nikol Pashinyan called on peaceful protestors to block the streets in Yerevan starting in the morning, recommending people use trucks to block the streets as they are more difficult to remove from their parked location [than smaller vehicles].

22:35

Nikol Pashinyan is speaking:

“We're being told that MP Seyran Saroyan's security officer has violently attacked a group of villagers who have tried to join this movement and join this rally.  I am alerting all the generals in the Republic of Armenia -- don't test the people's patience.

I am alerting Daron Markarian that if city officials are affiliated with violent actions, he will be held responsible. The same is true for all security agencies and organizations, the chiefs will be held responsible.

The purpose is to close the page on such behavior in the Republic of Armenia. but don't anyone think they can attack Armenia's citizens with impunity.

General Saroyan, Daron Markarian -- you know me, and you know I don't speak in vain.

The sounds of cars honking around the city have been incredible.

It is our women, our sisters who have been the major drivers of this movement. No political process in the Republic of Armenia has been so inclusive, no one can be more worried, more concerned, more devoted to the future of this country than our mothers and sisters.”

22։10

Nikol Pashinyan is speaking:

We state that no one has the right to use violence in the name of this movement. Yesterday, 125 people were detained, today the number exceeds 300., many of them detained using violent methods.

I want the authorities to understand something: Violence does not and will not stop this movement, it will strengthen it.

We state that no one has the right to use violence in the name of this movement. Yesterday, 125 people were detained, today the number exceeds 300., many of them detained using violent methods

Now, we are being told that additional forces have been brought in near Kanaker, just outside Yerevan, to stop the popular festivities

I implore the chief of police --

Does it bother Serzh Sargsyan that Armenians in Armenia are celebrating and enjoying festivities? That is what we will do from now on. I call on the police to join us.

From now on, this will be a country of reciprocal respect.

Attacks on protesters by officials who walked out of a Yerevan district office -- I call Daron Markarian, either gather up your useless forces, or you won't be able to come out of your house for a month.

20:24

"There is no state or police force that can be victorious against such a movement," said Armen Grigoryan, member of RejectSerzh movement. 

"I appeal to you to come out with your friends and colleagues, and become a crowd of 100,000, falling out of this square. Indicatiosn of our success: Yesterday Serzh Sargsyan said he would not accept the privatized home he had been given in the government compound. Today he said he is decreasing taxes and raising salaries. No one believes him. He thinks he can rule for 10 years, lie, not fulfill any promise, and then come here and make new promises."

20:23

Various NGOs have joined this movement. Including a Yezidi organization, another called ARMENIA IS MY HOME.

20:22

Arayik Harutyunyan, member of Yerevan City Council said: "Yesterday I told you what to do if you are detained; today -- this is what happened: in one of our distant marzes, three young people were detained and said they would not speak until they saw a public defender. The police were in shock. No one had ever made such a request."

"I wish higher educational institutions would not close their doors and keep students inside. I have a proposal. If you, students, find yourselves enclsoed in locked universities and classrooms, call 102 [police], and say you are being held hostage. I guarantee you that after a few calls, all universities will be released."

20:20

Demonstrations will be held tomorrow in Toronto, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Athens and other cities.

20:00

Dr. Svante Lundgren has sent a letter to CivilNet. "As a dedicated friend of Armenia I salute the brave people who have taken to the streets to demand a democratic transformation of our beloved Hayastan. My heart and love go out to all these men and women who dream about a better future." 

Svante Lundgren is a Finnish genocide scholar who has published two books about the Armenian genocide. He acted as the narrator in the Armenian documentary movie "Map of Salvation" (2015). 

19:55

"The communities of Marseille and Paris and other cities are participating in a rally tomorrow. Also in London, at 10.30 am tomorrow, in front of the Armenian embassy," said Tigran Avinyan, member of Civil Contract Party. 

19:40

"People who are not able to come are holding their own protests, everywhere. most important: fear has been completely eradicated here, amongst us, citizens of Armenia," said MP  Ararat Mirzoyan, from Civil Contract Party in his speech at the rally in the Republic Square. 

19։30

"Sinjar Yezidis National Union" urges all its supporters to join and support #MyStep movement․

The situation created in the course of the recent years in the Republic of Armenia cannot leave the citizens indifferent. By their anti-democratic activities, the current authorities of the Republic of Armenia violate everyone's rights, including the rights of national and religious minorities. "Sinjar Yezidis National Union" urges all its supporters to join and support #MyStep movement for the sake of a strong and democratic Republic of Armenia

18:37

Demonstrators are gathering in Republic Sq for the announced rally at 7:00 pm (local time). You can follow along live across the CivilNet’s platforms. We will be providing a live feed of the rally on YouTube and Facebook Live.

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18:35

The Police Department has announced that as of 6:00 PM, 233 individuals have been detained.

18:30

The Amiryan-Mashdots intersection remains blocked by protesters. Per CivilNet reporters, individuals continue to be detained by police.

18:20

President of the Republic of Armenia has hosted Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia.

18:15

Demonstrators protesting in Vanadzor.

18:00

As of 5:00pm the Police Department has announced that they have detained 217 individuals.

17:50

Ashot Adamyan, Actor

We [the people] will turn into a fist and put them in their place. People are coming to reclaim their dignity.

17:30

Ararat Mirzoyan, activist and participant in the rallies calls on the demonstrators to open the streets to allow for access to Republic Sq for tonight’s rally.

17:15

The tens of thousands of protesters continue to march in the streets. Groups in different communities continue to march and will make their way to Yerevan for the rally in Republic Sq at 7pm.

17:10

Protestors are continuing their march down Isakov St.

16:36

The ‘My Step’ initiative has released a map of the blocked streets in Yerevan.

16:35

A 13-year old citizen of the United States was detained by police on Tumanyan St. per CivilNet sources.

16:30

A statement from Ashot Aharonyan, Head of the Police Information and Public Relations Department:

“Taking into account group actions that violate public order by the participants of the rally organized by Nikol Pashinyan, the police department is currently implementing directives not only for the protection of public order, but also the prevention and suppression of crimes and administrative offenses. The police may also use other procedures during this time. We declare that individuals who carry out acts of detention in civilian clothes are in fact police officers whose actions completely fall onto the police.”

16:15

Police have detained some individuals at the Tumanyan-Saryan intersection in Yerevan.

16։10

As of 3:30pm, the Police Department informed CivilNet that 183 individuals have been detained.

16։05

Protesters in Aragatsotn, near Nerkin Bazmaberd, have shut down the North-South Highway.

15:55

Today, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan hosted Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians, His Holiness Karekin II and His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia. The Prime Minister's official website states that during his first meeting with Serzh Sargsyan, His Holiness Karekin II and the Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia first delivered their congratulations to the Prime Minister, wishing him strength, patience and endurance.
They discussed the current political protests taking place and shared their concerns.

15:37

In Arshakunyats, cars are blocking the street and paralyzing traffic, reports CivilNet.

15:35

In Erebuni, while protesters blocked the street, the son of Varuzhan Avetisyan, member of the Sasna Tsrer, was beaten.

15:20

They are detaining protesters on Arshakunyats Ave. The situation is chaotic there.

15:15

Residents of Alagyaz closed the Vanadzor-Yerevan highway with 10-15 people. Police have arrived on the scene per an observer.

14:45

Police Department Official Statement:

"We once again urge those participating in illegal assembly by carrying out marches on the roads to carry out their dutiful obligations, to refrain from hindering the efforts of police officers in the performance of their duties, and referring to them offensively.

We urge the organizers of the assembly to stop the disproportionate restrictions on the rights and freedoms of citizens, and for the purpose of avoiding actions which will endanger the lives and health of the residents of the capital, to move the assemblies to places where there will be no breach of law, and will ensure that the police provide support to the assembly and assure their security"

14:35

In Erebuni, on Ayvazovsky St, a video shows a group of demonstrators, minors, being beaten by a group of individuals in plainclothes. CivilNet has confirmed that one of the individuals beating up the minors is Sargis Hakobyan, brother of Police Chief Vladimir Gasparyan’s security chief.

14:30

In Bulgaria, a group of Armenian students held a protest in front of the Embassy of Armenia. They wrote an open letter which they delivered to Embassy staff so that it could be delivered to Ambassador H.E. Mr. Armen Sargsyan.

14:19

Sepastia, Leningradyan St:

14:06

In Ashtarak 11 people have been detained.

13:56

IT Companies are joining the #RejectSerzh movement. Here is a statement from Factum Soft CEO, Arman Margaryan

13:54

MP Mane Tandilian, a member of the YELQ faction, has stated that police have detained 91 individuals.

13:40

Skirmishes and threats on Gyulbenkyan St. Police are forcibly placing demonstrators into police cars.

13:30

At the Kievyan Bridge three trucks have blocked traffic across the bridge. Nikol Pashinyan walked over to the truck drivers and embraced them in thanks.

13:21

Activists, Lara Aharonian and Anna Nikoghosyan have been detained and taken to the Shengavit Police Station.

13։17

Employees of Synergy International Systems have joined the protest by blocking the main road leading to Marash, Sari Tagh, and Monument areas of Yerevan.


Photo Credit: Hamlet Vardanyan

13:12

California State Assemblymember, Adrin Nazarian, has issued a statement in support of the #RejectSerzh protests taking place in Armenia.
“As Martin Luther King once said ‘there comes a time when silence is betrayal.’ As many of us have watched the citizen uprising in Armenia, it is important for all of us to state clearly that we stand with the young individuals demonstrating against corruption and for freedom and justice in Armenia. I stand in solidarity with their fight for a just and fair Armenia that works for all her citizens.”

12։58

The open letter from Anahit Bakhshyan to Nikol Pashinyan․

Nikol, my son, I share your concerns completely, but I am worried for both you and for the thousands of young people, amongst whom my grandson is included, and whom I will not try to hold back from joining. 

I can’t deny that I did not believe in the success of this movement, which has succeeded and for that I congratulate you. I’ve always said that i’m against any of these types of protests, but you are saying this is a ‘Velvet Revolution’, and your slogan is ‘Without Violence.’ Very well, my 70-year old self has also been motivated and I, too, want to take my step; however, before I do that, during today’s public rally, can you explain, ‘What is a “Velvet Revolution”? How does it differ from other revolutions? What are the steps and demands that are necessary, and please cite those articles in our constitution which will be the basis the on which we will come out of this political crisis in a legal way. Today, I will be listening closely to your ansers to these questions at the public rally in Republic Sq.

 My respect and love, Anahit Bakhshyan

20.04.2018

12:38

Armenpress is reporting that Catholicos Aram I is in the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin.

12:32

Ashot Aharonyan is reporting that Dirair Muratyan, journalist, was not detained. Instead, police dropped him off some distance away from the scene.

12:29

Edmon Marukyan is reporting that Nikol Pashinyan’s son and 23 other individuals have been detained.

12:23

CivilNet channels are reporting the following:

Police have locked the doors of Yerevan Public School no. 190 and are not allowing anyone to leave the school grounds.

In Ashtarak, students who have left campus are being taken to the Nerses Ashtaraketsi school. Inside the school, the situation is tense.

12:11

Lena Nazaryan, MP, Civil Contract Party, issued the following statement: “We will not allow detainees to remain [detained] for one minute longer [than is legally allowed].”

11:46

Protesters have once again blocked Azatutyan Ave.

11:44

Police have released activist Davit Sananyan after detaining him earlier today.

11:40

Youth in Alaverdi have organized a day of action in support of #RejectSerzh. 

 

11։35

The police force has concentrated their efforts on Azatutyun Ave. A family from Gyumri has arrived and joined Nikol Pashinyan in the Davtashen area.

11։27

Police have detained journalist Dirair Muratyan on the Abovyan-Yerevan Hwy, even though he was wearing a journalistic badge.

11։19

The police department has informed CivilNet that as of 11:00 AM, 52 individuals have been detained.

11:14

Today, on April 20th, the police issued a statement noting that since morning the participants of the illegal assembly in the capital, following the calls of the organizers of the assembly, have been blocking the streets in different parts of Yerevan, carrying out  unlawful actions and hindering free movement to and from adjacent buildings, other citizens and traffic.

"We urge the citizens participating in an illegal assembly to comply with their legal obligation and not to impede the exercise of legitimate police activities in order to avoid the use of adequate legal measures taken for the above offenses. At the same time, the police are ready to support the peaceful assembly in a place that does not lead to disproportionate restrictions on the rights and freedoms of others."

11։05

Nikol Pashinyan announced that the Yerevan-Abovyan highway has been entirely blocked by trucks.

11։00

His Holiness Aram I, Catholicos of Cilicia is coming to Yerevan. Before departing for Yerevan, he had the following to say:


“We are all worried. Just as the advancement and strengthening of Armenia is both a duty and pride for all of us, so is the pain and concern of our own people. Hence, we cannot remain indifferent to the issues that concern our own people. We cannot remain indifferent to the concerns being raised on the streets in Yerevan.”

10։55

The Nikol Pashinyan led march has now reached the Davtashen Bridge․

10։50

A driver who blocked the road with his car states that he will continue to do it everyday․

10։38

CivilNet is reporting that Terlemezian Art College students are being detained at the Arshagunyats Station.

10։13

The Economist reflects on the events taking place in Armenia with an article titled: ‘Armenia’s unpopular president makes himself prime minister.’

10։09

On April 19, in Glendale, CA a rally was held in support of the #RejectSerzh movement. Mayor of Glendale, Zareh Sinanyan, was present for the rally, where he stated, that at the beginning he was skeptical that such a rally could succeed in Armenia. Listen to the provided video clip to hear what Sinanyan had to say.

10։01

The Court has completed their investigation and has sentenced “Reject Serzh” activist Dickran Mazmanyan to two months in jail. He was suspected of violating Article 225 Section 2 when he accessed the Public Radio building․ 

9:51

On April 19, there was a protest organized in Glendale, CA in support for the #RejectSerzh movement.

 

 

9։40

Nikol Pashinyan is sitting in the middle of Gyulbenkyan St. across from the trucks that are blocking the street. He is calling out to the citizenry to join him there.

 

9։20

Protesters successfully blocked Sundukyan St. Police officers were seen removing their vehicles from the road.

9։00

Activist, Davit Sanasaryan has been detained․