Some 100 Armenian opposition activists detained after rally

Some 100 Armenian opposition activists detained after rally

Azg, Yerevan
10 Apr 04

Large numbers of people packed Freedom Square in downtown Yerevan
yesterday. According to independent sources, from 10,000 to 15,000
people were there. [Passage omitted: repeated details of the rally]
The event, though, was quite an interesting show for those who like to
watch, as well as for journalists who looked for an extra chance to
snatch an interesting story. The policemen seemed quite nice to
journalists after the 5 April rally when the journalists were
physically harassed by unknown men believed by many to be anonymous
law enforcers, hence the cameras and recorders were flashing

Anyway, while for some the rally was a matter of life and death, the
contrast amid the people in the first lines of the crowd and those in
the last seemed incomparable. An elderly woman uttered in a heartfelt
squeaky voice “Kocharyan, go away!”. This was supported by teenage
shouting. They were waving flags and anti-government posters in front
of cameras. These sounds were funnily accompanied with laughter of
groups of well-fed young men standing just several lines behind the
elderly woman.

Although the authorities have “installed” their men in the crowd, it
was not only them who were indifferent towards what’s going on. As the
last line of the crowd were thinning at the end of the square towards
the green territory where the open cafes are situated, one would have
difficulty to say who is who there.

Next to several Europeans gazing quite keenly at the crowd with their
digital cameras working non-stop, there was a long haired Armenian
from abroad with a bottle of cola in his hands. A little further three
beautiful ladies were pushing their way through the crowd, in an
obvious attempt to attract the attention of young men. At a cafe next
to the square one would have a great difficulty finding a vacant table
to sit at. All the cafe tables were occupied, mostly by plump men who
helped themselves to beer and salty peanuts, watching the
demonstration and discussing politics from a comfortable angle.

Though the law-enforcers seemed to be tolerant of journalists, the
harshness was yet to be displayed. The lower-rank policemen in
civilian clothes were tracing down the most active members of the
opposition on orders from their bosses standing further away on
sidewalks going round the Opera and Ballet Theatre’s green
area. Having received a wink, three sporty men twisted the hands of
one activist and rushed him out of the crowd and forced him into a
Soviet Gaz 2106 vehicle which immediately drove off at high
speed. This, though, was the debut of the mass arrests.

By 2300 an estimated 100 activists were detained. However, there were
people who came here with the sole purpose to help oust the current
authorities from their posts. Among the protesters were people from
all over Armenia [Passage omitted: names of areas from which
protesters came and that rallies to continue until the president