Decision 2013: Hovannisian supporters converging in Yerevan square for possible post-election showdown

Decision 2013: Hovannisian supporters converging in Yerevan square for possible post-election showdown

Photolure

Despite snow and sleet in Yerevan this morning citizens have been converging in the Armenian capital’s Liberty Square for what might be a post-election showdown between opposition leader and official runner-up in the Monday presidential election Raffi Hovannisian and official president-elect, incumbent head of state Serzh Sargsyan later this afternoon.

Hovannisian supporters who have been gathering in the square before the start of the rally scheduled after midday (ahead of a possible political gathering of Sargsyan’s Republican Party of Armenia in the same venue) were giving assurances that they were determined to continue their struggle and expected the incumbent to “hand over” power to the people – as demanded by Hovannisian.

Hovannisian and thousands of his supporters have already held two rallies in the square – a traditional place for political gatherings disputing election results in Armenia – and yesterday he said he was ready for a “lengthy” struggle. He also said he was going to spend the night in the square and invited those of his supporters who felt like doing the same to join him.

Civic activist, writer Bayandour Poghosyan, who spent the night together with Hovannisian, told ArmeniaNow that during the whole night they guarded the flag of the Republic of Armenia which, he said, “once again symbolizes the victory of the citizen of Armenia over the criminal regime and oligarchy.”

“The citizens of Armenia have made their choice, and I have come to stand next to the citizens. We are going to stand up to the end, till victory,” said Poghosyan, adding that no matter what, the fight will be peaceful and lawful.

However, Sargsyan’s ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) has not yet confirmed its plans to go ahead with the rally, with some of its members hinting at a possible rescheduling to avoid a possible clash.

In an interview with Yerkir.am, deputy chairman of the RPA Galust Sahakyan said that “in fact, our rally has become a desire of adventure-seekers who are trying to mislead the people.”

“In such conditions we do not want to play into the hands of individuals who want there to be victims,” added the senior RPA member.

Post-election rallies led by ex-president Levon Ter-Petrosyan in 2008 ended in deadly clashes between his supporters and security personnel in which 10 people, including eight civilians, were killed.