Friday, 29 July 2016

Armenian News... A Topalian... Grave Realities...

CivilNet TV
Diaspora Afraid to Acknowledge Grave Realities in Armenia
Published on Jul 27, 2016

"Things are happening in Armenia, and I hope that it will not go 

the Syrian way"

The Genocide and Karabakh remain on the forefront of the 
diaspora's Armenian interests, but when it comes to understanding 
State vs people internal realities, the diaspora lacks fundamental 
information and hesitates to interfere - Arsinne Khanjian’s call 
to the Armenian diaspora.

This interview may confirm your prejudices or challenge you to 
think again. Just over twenty minutes but well worth your attention 
and thoughtfulness at least, right to the end of the interview.
Live: People gather at Liberty Square for rally (video)
July 27,2016 

21.49 People gathered at Liberty Square are now discussing three proposals made by the rally participants: to gather for a rally on Thursday, hold a march today and start a sit-in protest. Albert Baghdasaryan, a member of the coordination committee reminded of strict police surveillance.

21.06 Several hundreds of people gathered a Liberty Square after the Founding Parliament announced that they were changing the venue of the rally and meeting at Liberty Square instead of Khorenatsi Street.

Albert Baghdasaryan, a member of the coordination committee, informed the participants that the police had taken away all their technique.

In the meanwhile, red hats continue detentions in Khorenatsi street.
July 27 2016
Armenia: Yerevan Gunmen Grab More Hostages at Police Station
July 27, 2016
by Giorgi Lomsadze

New hostages were taken in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, on July 27 as
an armed standoff between police and gunmen entered its tenth day.
Despite the surrender of two of the gunmen, with street support for
the group’s defiance of the government persisting, the crisis shows no
sign of ending soon.

Officials said that the anti-government militants holed up in the
city’s Erebuni police station seized four medical personnel dispatched
by the health ministry this morning to treat gunmen wounded by an
exchange of gunfire with police late last night.

A representative of the fringe opposition political group to which the
gunmen belong, Founding Parliament, categorically denied that the men,
mostly Karabakh war veterans, have taken any more hostages.

“The guys aren’t holding anyone as a hostage. They only want the
medical presence there to be continuous and . . . for another brigade
of doctors to rotate with this brigade,” Founding Parliament member
Alek Enigomshian told reporters, RFE/RL’s Armenian service reported.

One policeman and two insurgents -- the gunmen’s most prominent
leader, Pavlik Manukian, and his son, Aram -- suffered serious
injuries in the overnight shootout and were hospitalized.

The surrender of another two members of the armed group early this
morning created a prospect for resolution of the nerve-wracking drama,
but the fresh hostage-taking situation brought the drama back to
square one.

Twelve participants in a late-night, pro-gunmen rally broken up by
police on July 26 have been charged with rioting.

Police have scuffled with protesters several times since the takeover
of the building, and have arrested scores of people, including some,
witnesses say, who were just passers-by.

The armed men, who include decorated war veterans, captured the
station on July 17, killing one policeman and taking several others
hostage. They demanded the resignation of President Serzh Sargsyan, a
fellow veteran of the Karabakh conflict, as well as the release of
Founding Parliament’s leader, government-critic Jirair Sefilian, from
jail. The gunmen eventually released these initial hostages, but the
standoff dragged on.

The government has disavowed the use of force in resolving the crisis,
but, conceivably, as much out of self-interest as any distaste for
violence -- as their response to periodic anti-government protests
held near the police station suggests.

The group’s attractions for most protesters appear to be related to a
widespread thirst for change and a belief that the Armenian government
only understands the language of force.

Others scoff at this justification. Yerevan’s latest mass protests to
date against unpopular government policies, the Electric Yerevan
movement, did not involve firearms, they note.

While public empathy for the plight of the gunmen’s police hostages
was not overwhelming, the men taking medics hostage drew

"Even during the war [with Azerbaijan] we did not have doctors as
prisoners," said Yerevan Clinic Director Dr. Taron Tonoian, also a war
veteran, reported.
Pavel Manukyan still connected to artificial ventilation apparatus
July 27,2016 | Politics 

Aram Manukyan, one of the members of the Sasna Dzrer armed 
group who was wounded in the overnight shootout with police 
officers, has been disconnected from a life-support device. 

“The apparatus was turned off about an hour ago. Though he has 
clear consciousness and we observe positive changes, he remains 
in a critical condition,” Harutyun Mangoyan, Head of the Department 
of Rehabilitation and Therapy of the Erebuni medical centre told 

Aram’s father, Pavlik Manukyan is still on artificial ventilation. 
“The apparatus helps him breathe normally. He is gradually coming 
to himself. In the morning we even talked to him, but I think the 
treatment will last a bit longer,” he said.

He added that the lives of all individuals remaining in intensive care 
units are in danger.

Two members of the Sasna Dzrer armed group, Pavel Manukyan 
and his son, and one policeman were taken to hospital following 
the late night firefight on Khorenatsi street.
News About Yerevan Gunmen Taking Medics Hostage Is 
‘Police Disinformation,’ Oppositionist Claims 

Armenia’s police said on Wednesday that the gunmen who have been occupying a Yerevan police station for ten days have taken an ambulance crew hostage after the latter were sent in to provide medical help to those wounded in an overnight fire exchange with police officers.

Alek Yenigomshyan, a member of anti-government movement Founding Parliament with which the gunmen are affiliated, however, told a news conference later in the day that the law enforcement agency was spreading disinformation and that the armed group were not holding anyone hostage. According to Yenigomshyan, the gunmen are only demanding that there be a round-the-clock medical assistance available to them and they are ready to let the ambulance crew go if the latter are replaced by other medics.

Note, Armenia’s Ambulance Service has been refusing since June 23 to provide medical aid to those barricaded inside the police station, claiming that the medics are scared of the gunmen’s weapons. At the same time, officials say, the medical personnel are willing to treat the “Daredevils of Sasun” at a neutral zone when they are unarmed.

Armenak Kyureghyan, the father of the two of the gunmen – Areg and Sergey Kyureghyan, also condemned the “disinformation” coming from the police, stating that Armenian authorities “have started a propaganda war against their own people.”

“I had a phone conversation with my son in the morning and he told me that police officers opened heavy fire on Pavil Manukyan on Tuesday evening as the latter attempted to negotiate with them about providing the group with a medic or taking the injured gunman to a hospital. Upon seeing that his father was being shot at, Pavlik’s son rushed to his rescue and he too got shot at. Another ‘Daredevils of Sasun’ member was wounded when he tried to help his friends,” Kyureghyan told reporters. He added that, according to his son, the police claim that gunmen Gagik Yeghiazaryan’s and Aram Hakobyan’s surrender to the authorities had been voluntary was also untrue.
Levon Barseghyan’s health deteriorates in Shengavit Police Department
July 27,2016 | Politics 

18.02 An ambulance arrived at the Shengavit Police Department some time ago.

A1+’s journalist reports from the ground that the doctor only said they had responded to a call from the police station while Barseghyan’s lawyer, Haykuhi Harutyunyan said the ambulance was called for Barseghyan whose health deteriorated suddenly.

16.41 Levon Barseghyan, Chairman of the Asparez Journalists’ Club, has been taken from the Gyumri’s Kumayri Police Department to Shengavit Police Department in Yerevan

Talking to A1+ on the phone, Mr Barseghyan said he had been detained at night with some 40 people. He does not know the reasons for his detention.

A1+ was informed from the Ombudsman’s Office that representatives of the Armenian Ombudsman were sent to the Shengavit Police Department where they had a private conversation with Levon Barseghyan and arranged his meeting with a lawyer.

Although the police reported earlier that Levon Barseghyan was set free at 6։30 a.m., his relatives did not have any information about his whereabouts for many hours.

The Moscow Times, Russia
July 27 2016
Armenia Revolts: Forget Social Protest, This Time It’s Serious
Armenians are used to mass demonstrations, but never before 
has the target of protest been the regime itself.
By Grigor Atanesian

That thousands of Yerevan residents should take to the streets, as
they have done every day this past week, is no real surprise. It is,
after all, the fourth summer in a row that mass protests have gripped
the Armenian capital. In 2013, demonstrators protested price hikes for
public transportation. In 2014 it was pension reform. In 2015, what
started as a protest against higher electricity bills became the
so-called “Electric Yerevan” movement that Russian state-controlled
media hyperbolically compared to Ukraine’s Maidan.

But this summer’s protest is different — not so much in form, but in
character. No longer are the demands social and economic; now the
ultimatum is regime change. Yerevan residents are rallying to voice
their support for an armed militant group that seized a police station
in the Erebuni district on July 17. The militants are demanding the
release of all political prisoners and the resignation of Armenian
President Serzh Sargsyan. They call themselves “The Sassoon
Daredevils” after the title of a medieval Armenian epic about the
strongmen of Sassoun — a historic region of Armenia — and their
struggle against Arab invaders.

Among these latter-day Daredevils are two heroes of the Karabakh War
of 1992-1994, Pavlik Manukyan and Araik Khandoyan. Both are renowned
throughout Armenia and the international Armenian diaspora.

Most Daredevils members support The Founding Parliament movement, the
main non-systemic opposition force in the country. One of their first
demands was the release of Jirair Sefilian, leader of The Founding
Parliament, who was arrested in June.

The Daredevils released all their hostages on July 23 on the condition
that a press center be erected in the compound they control. But the
authorities responded in the usual way for a former Soviet republic.
State-controlled television made no mention of the takeover of the
police station for the first two days. Police dispersed supporters
with excessive force. Video cameras captured riot police kicking
demonstrators who had fallen to the ground. Road workers suddenly
decided to lay new asphalt in front of the presidential palace and all
official government spokespeople seemingly disappeared. Only on July
22, five days after the armed conflict began, did a notice appear on
President Sargasyan’s website condemning the militants.

On July 27, it was reported that the militants had once again taken in
hostages, though this information is disputed and difficult to verify.

The National Security Service is calling the takeover a terrorist
attack, but the number of Armenians who disagree with that assessment
is growing daily. Armenian society has a deep aversion to all acts of
violence. The bloody ethnic conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan and
the terrorist attack against the parliament in 1999, when masked
gunmen killed eight deputies, is still fresh in people’s minds.
Paradoxically, however, it is the very rejection of violence that many
Armenians have come round to supporting the Daredevils.

Armenian society is, essentially, too small for corruption and crime
to remain hidden. A consensus has formed that the authorities use
their monopoly on violence for personal gain. People remember how
President Serzh Sargsyan came to power by suppressing mass protests
that followed presidential elections in 2008. They remember how police
used force to disperse the protesters, causing the deaths of eight
demonstrators and one soldier.

The Founding Parliament movement has never advocated the use of force
to achieve a regime change, and the seizure of the police station
seems to be a gesture of despair from some of their veteran members.
For years, Jirair Sefilian and his supporters took to the streets with
placards, recorded video messages, traveled around the country in
caravans and used every possible peaceful means of protest available.
As a result, they were arrested, given hefty prison sentences and
beaten by people in civilian clothes.

Armenia celebrates 25 years of independence in 2016, although it is
difficult to find a single citizen who would characterize the country
as free and independent. According to official statistics, more than
600,000 people emigrated from Armenia during those years;
unofficially, it may have been as many as 1 million. Like Ukraine,
Armenia was slated to sign an Association Agreement creating a
free-trade zone with Europe at the Eastern Partnership Summit in
Vilnius in November 2013, but after a closed meeting with President
Vladimir Putin in Moscow, President Sargsyan announced that he was
rejecting integration with Europe in favor of joining the Eurasian
Economic Union.

Over the past decade, Armenia has handed Russia control over many of
the country’s strategic facilities, including the Armenian Nuclear
Power Plant, Armsberbank (The Armenian State Savings Bank that later
became a branch of Russia’s VTB bank), the Hrazdan Thermal Power
Plant, and many other assets. And yet, over the past five years,
Russia has sold Azerbaijan — Armenia’s main foreign enemy — offensive
weapons worth more than $4 billion. Azerbaijan used those Russian
weapons during a four-day clash with Armenia in April 2016 that
resulted in the deaths of more than 100 Armenian soldiers.

A consensus has formed in Armenian society that corruption and the
authoritarian regime are the main problems facing the country, and
that they are destroying the economy and threatening Armenia’s
sovereignty. The groundswell of support for the Sassoon Daredevils,
taking in everyone from retirees to youth carrying smartphones, is an
indication that the ruling elites are not in for an easy ride.
Nice hero's wife is Armenian

Three heroes who tried to stop a truck in Nice were awarded a medal of the city, Nicematin reported.

Frank, Gvenel and Alexander tried to stop the truck that was plunging into a crowd in high speed.

According to Nouvelles d’Armenie, 49-year-old Frank’s wife is of Armenian origin. He was driving a bike and was trying to open the door of the truck cabin, but fell from the bike.

Frank was immediately arrested by police as they thought he was accomplice of the criminal. Gvenel was running behind the truck and then covered someone during a shootout.

As for Alexander, he managed to cling to the cabin door, but he quickly fell on the ground.

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