Recapping Wave of Protests: Week to Week by Armenia Media with Shahen Araboghlian

By Shahen Araboghlian – Armenia Media | Saturday, 07 May 2022

Week to Week / ՇԱԲԱԹԷ ՇԱԲԱԹ

By Shahen Araboghlian – Exclusively for Armenia Media

Protests & Demands for Resignation - Armenia Witnesses A Large Wave of Civil Disobedience


Image caption: Civil Disobedience Acts Across the Nation, En Masse (Photo by Armenia Alliance)

On the 13th of April, PM Pashinyan said the bar should be lowered for expectations on the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace deal, mostly due to international desire. His wording has strongly suggested Nagorno-Karabakh’s cessation to Azerbaijan, and the loss of Armenian sovereignty over the de-facto Republic. Artsakh State Minister Artak Beglaryan said there is no way where Artsakh can be a part of Azerbaijan. Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan says there’s no way but self-determination.

The opposition hosted a torch march from central Yerevan to the Genocide Memorial Complex/Tsitsernakaberd on the night of April 23; the march had a strict anti-establishment political nature to it.

The National Security Service (NSS) of Armenia warned of mass civil unrest. May 1 marked the first day of major protests, with artery avenues of the capital being on and off paralysed, causing major disruptions. Former Presidents Robert Kocharyan and Serj Sargsyan took part in the protests. Police brutality was on a sharp increase, especially on May 2, when 224 protestors were detained in a single day, many of them beaten on live cam.

The Ministry of Interior marked 400+ protestors as detained as of May 5; RA Human Rights Defender (who’s pro-ruling party) has condemned the police brutality, calling it “unnecessary” in a statement. Parliament Speaker Simonyan called the brutality “appropriate” and thanked the forces for protecting everyday citizens. Hampig Sassounian was among the detainees but has been released.

The journey has been tough for both sides. On one side, the police have been having a hard time opening roads and disrupting the protests to prevent the opposition from gaining momentum. On the other hand, the opposition keeps calling for larger protests, with the participation of specific groups, such as university students. Place de France (aka French Square) in Yerevan has been occupied by the opposition for a few days now as of the time of writing (May 6).

The G Word, Pushed Back & Forth in Turkey

As is the case every year, by the end of April, governments around the world step it up and condemn the Armenian Genocide that occurred a century ago. Some, though, don’t – notably, Turkey doesn’t. TR President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once again, to nobody’s surprise, has denied the Armenian genocide claims, and has even pushed Armenian citizens to let go of the topic and instead support the normalisation efforts between the two countries.

Turkish Opposition Party Member, Turkish-Armenian MP Garo Paylan submitted a bill in the Turkish parliament pushing for the recognition of the Armenian genocide. It is worth noting that referring to the massacres as genocide in Turkey is considered a crime. The ruling AKP party has threatened to start legal measures against Paylan for the bill. Erdogan called Paylan a “traitor,” saying there’s no place in Turkey for MPs like him.

A few years ago, during a politics class, I was attending, a colleague claimed it’s hard to take sides in Middle Eastern and East European conflicts. Another colleague responded, “see which side Erdogan has taken, and support the opposite side.”

Notable News:

Image caption: TR MFA Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu flashed the fascist Grey Wolves sign at Armenian protestors in Uruguay.

Below are some notable events that have recently taken place.

  • Hadrut church desecrated, cross removed, Armenian inscriptions erased.

  • Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Turkish MFA, flashes Armenian protestors with Grey Wolves sign. Uruguay summoned the Turkish Ambassador to Uruguay the next day. Former Armenian MFA Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, in a tweet, responded to the situation with “Hitler is saluting back from his grave.”

  • Famous rapper 50 Cent, French singer Zaz, and the Led Zepplin Symphonic to perform in Yerevan this summer.

  • “Azerbaijan has always supported Ukraine,” said Ukr President Zelensky.

  • World famous violinist and musician Ara Malikian hosts Spanish travel show in Armenia.

  • Istanbul Governor’s Office denies hosting permit of April 24 Commemoration Day.

  • Oxford Armenia Foundation partnered with the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) for educational planning.

  • Capitol Hill hosts Peter Balakian for the Armenian Genocide Commemoration keynote speech.

Multimedia Corner

Image caption: Catch Apo Sahagian performing live in Artsakh, deets in the pic! (Graphic by the Tufenkian Foundation)

  • Read: Read about Sona Tatoyan’s journey after finding her great-great-grandfather’ lost shadow puppets, deciding to stage a show with them named “Azad” here.
  • Listen: I don’t think I know a single person who’s not a Tigran Mansurian fan. Listen to one of my favorites, "Three Medieval Taghs for Viola and Percussion", right here.

  • Watch: "Scribes, Compositors and the Mind in the Making: the Armenian Script and the Creation of an Armenian Literary Identity” by Kevork Bardakjian for the Library of Congress, watch it right here.

  • Learn: Learn about Jerusalemite-Armenian singer, and songwriter Apo Sahagian in his Forbes feature here. If you happen to be in Artsakh (lucky you!), don’t miss his performance in collaboration with the Tufenkian Foundation.