Unprecedented Civil Movement in Armenia


Amid the aggravating socio-economic problems, emigration, the
government's inability to resolve public and state problems, declining
confidence in the non-governmental forces, their incapacity, a new
force was needed to identify the challenges and resolve them,
counteract the illegal, anti-state and anti-social policy of the
government, and the civil society is trying to assume this role. 2013
was unprecedented in terms of civil activeness, assuming
responsibility for the solution of problems.

In Armenia the civil society brings up a wide range of issues, from
illegal construction to fight for sovereignty.

This year the civil fight had considerable success despite a series of
shortcomings and failures which were tactical, organizational in
nature.

To wake up the society and not to live like slaves, Shant Harutiunyan
stated: `I begin the revolution.' Shant clearly listed his steps.
Several dozens of citizens who took to the street with him were
arrested. Shant and another dozen of citizens were remanded in
custody.

On September 3 Serzh Sargsyan announced about joining the Customs
Union in Moscow which caused dissatisfaction in a considerable part of
the Armenian public. In September there were protests in front of the
president's administration, RPA's head office, on December 2, the day
of Putin's visit. The police state detained over 100 citizens.

In the passing year the most large-scale and successful action was the
movement for 100 dram, against the decision of the owners of bus lines
and the City Hall to raise the fare. Thousands of young people took to
the streets to protest against this unlawful decision and forces the
government to repeal the decision. After the decision was repealed,
three citizens, Vahagn Minasyan, Suren Sahakyan and Gor Arakelyan went
on a sit-in in front of the City Hall, demanding the resignation of
non-compliant officials.

The year ended with protests against the vassal gas agreement on
December 20 and 23. Hundreds of citizens took to the streets against
an agreement that was not in line with the interests of Armenia.

The next anti-social decision of the government was the introduction
of the mandatory funded pension which will cut 6.6-13% of the income
of citizens. The IT sphere started the protest. The movement `I am
against' was born. Four parliamentary forces have applied to the
Constitutional Court disputing the funded pension.

The Preparliament fought against illegal construction destroying the
Covered Market of Yerevan. There were a series of events in front of
the Covered Market and Mashtots Park.

This year the veterans of war in Artsakh fought for their rights. They
held rallies on Freedom Square. The police have arrested Volodya
Avetisyan, one of the leaders of this movement.

At the beginning of the year, after the presidential elections, as
well as rise in tuition fees, an attempt to organize a student strike
was made but it did not become a mass event.

An interesting initiative was taken for the first time this year. An
open university was organized on Freedom Square, specialists delivered
lectures on different topics.

The residents of 5 Komitas Street and 10 Sayat Nova started fight for
their rights and were able to stop construction of high-rise buildings
in their neighborhoods. The deceived citizens of 72-80 Aram Street
formed a united front to continue their strife together.

The employees of Nairit continue to demand their salaries for about a
year. They held marches to the president's administration and
government several times.

A notable action was taken by the Chamber of Advocates. The advocates
went on strike against the double standards applied by the Court of
Cassation.

On December 10, the human rights day, the ANC held the traditional march.

The civic actions are not limited to this. One can remember the
protest of dentists, the action against Artsakhbank, the protest of
taxi drivers.

15:48 30/12/2013
Story from Lragir.am News:
http://www.lragir.am/index/eng/0/society/view/31665