Inspired by recent developments in North Africa, Armenia’s largest opposition coalition is preparing for “large-scale rallies” in Yerevan’s Freedom Square starting on February 18.
The government’s public response to the announcement by Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (ANC) has been muted. But official actions suggest that authorities are taking the potential for an “Egypt Effect” in Armenia seriously. Soon after the ANC revealed its protest plans, Yerevan city officials countered that Freedom Square would be off limits because it would be the scene of “sporting and cultural events” from February 15-March 15.
ANC leaders say that if they can’t secure permission to rally in Freedom Square via PR efforts and official application procedures, they will simply protest without a city permit.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter in Yerevan and the editor of MediaLab.am.