Civil Society’s Pulse: Baghramyan Avenue protests gain momentum

Civil Society’s Pulse: Baghramyan Avenue protests gain momentum –

By Gayane Mkrtchyan

Armenianow – Baghramyan Avenue in Yerevan these days has become a major venue where the civil society sets its demands to the government without politicizing them, a circumstance that attaches even greater energy to the movement. 

Each day new self-organized groups join Baghramyan Avenue protesters bringing water, food, plastic covers to protect from the rain. On one side of the street there is a kitchen where sandwiches, biscuits, sweets are offered. Next to the kitchen there is the water section.

Liana Hovhannisyan from the Martuni Women Community Council organization, together with her friends brought food and water. They say that similar events will be held in Martuni today.

“I came to perform my social, economic and political duty, to make my words heard, the authorities must understand and listen to that voice. And most importantly, we are here on our civil duty, not on political one,” Hovhannisyan told ArmeniaNow.

Head of the Globalization and Regional Investigations Center Stepan Grigoryan, who participated in the protests as well, separates a political movement from the civil one, saying: political movements are vulnerable, it is said – why are they red or black? While civil movements cannot be discredited, people go to peaceful protests, they speak of their troubles, and they do not want a position, nor authority, which is their main power.

“They simply say, “We do not want neither a promise, nor anything, just suspend that decision, there is no subject to be discussed, our demand is just.” And their main demand is not only that they do not increase the tariff but also show them how the debt was created, and going against that is indeed very difficult. I’d suggest the government to try to meet those demands, and not to confront. To disperse and instead of a 2,000-person protest have a 10,000-strong one, disperse once again and have 100,000 turning out for the next rally, and then destabilization will start in Armenia. I believe the government has resources enough to solve the issue, to suspend the decision. Let them go to Europe, Russia and say that they are in a grave situation, ask for support, I do not think that the amount is more than a billion or half a billion, let them say that they cannot put that burden on the people,” Grigoryan told ArmeniaNow.

Many of the experts think that this civil movement that started from the fight against electricity tariff increase is other by its type and contents, is gifted with a powerful legal force, with huge energetic capability. 

“This movement can be compared with the 1988 Artsakh movement, it was a national issue, and this is an internal one, which has grown powerful and took this volume. Soon this demand might grow into a power issue, if the authorities continue inadequate attitude, a bad quality attitude toward taxpayers, thus there will be left the last solution – hey, brother, go home, there will come people, who will rule this country,” Levon Barseghyan, head of the Gyumri Asparez club, told ArmeniaNow.

Evaluating different civil movements in Armenia head of the Cooperation for Democracy Center Stepan Danielyan wrote on his Facebook account, “Teghut movement created Mashtots Park, which created the 100 AMD movement, which gave birth to this one. You can see that the volume and the quality grows gradually, the number of participants increases, the mentality changes.

Let everything go its own routine, we should not hurry. You can see that the more the question is not politicized the more political results increase. Ahead we are facing a very dangerous issue of constitutional changes. It will be Serzh [Sargsyan] who will appoint the day of the change of government.”

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