Environmental Protest in Yerevan

Yesterday evening there was a protest meeting near the statue of Arno Babajanyan on Tumanyan. A big hole has been dug there which undoubtedly signifies the construction of yet another cafe or restaurant. Actually, from what I understand, it is not even clear what really is being built there and who is building it. Considering the location I assume it is indeed going to be some new entertainment place. And I am also going to assume that the construction is being done without the proper documents and permissions. Another illegal building owned by one of the country’s hotshots. I know I am jumping to many conclusions here, but I am also pretty sure (and with me many more people) that those conclusions will not be too far off the truth.

My guess is that there were probably about one hundred or slightly more people joining the protest. Many of them were representatives of human rights and environmental NGOs, I saw some people from Sksel a. Tourists and passers-by stopped and inquired what was going on, some lingered around for a bit. At first the crowd were mostly older people, but to my satisfaction towards the end of the protest the average age had definitely gone down as quite a few younger people had joined the protest.

These children were from a birdwatching or bird-protection NGO.

The organizers of the protest had brought soil to throw on the building site to symbolically close the hole. You can just make out the blue and white plastic bags in which they brought the soil.

As usual, the amount of protesters was not enormous, but they were visible and people stopped and asked what was going on. So in that way, I guess the protest could be considered a success. Even though every single person attending realized that this would not stop the construction in any way. Even though in that way, these protests will not be successful any time soon, I still think such protest meetings should be held as they show other people that raising your voice is an option as opposed to staying put and not doing anything apart from complaining how bad everything is and that your average Hovhannes Hovhannisyan cannot do anything to change this country. The latter seems to be the option most people pick in Armenia. Unfortunately.

Update: Other bloggers covering the protest are The Armenian Observer and Zara at Life Around Me.

7 thoughts on “Environmental Protest in Yerevan

  1. Onnik
    has more on the protest as well.

    It’s funny I didn’t run into any of the other bloggers I know despite there being so many of them!

  2. 100 people sounds like a great amount of people. It is hard to get that many people together where I live even for an “End the war in Iraq” protest. The book I was reading a few weeks ago, Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit, talked about how even seemingly small demonstrations are making a difference because people see that they are not alone and momentum increases slowly join. Also, the influence that such protests have may not be immediately apparent but they do cause shifts.

  3. It’s interesting that the announcement said that a coalition of 32 NGOs organized this, so a hundred ppl is an unfortunate turnout…

  4. I know, Anush. That means that on average every NGO brought 3-4 people. Pretty sad, if you think about it.

    Margaret, didn’t you mention that book on your blog not too long ago? I may have to put it on my get-it-from -somewhere-list so that it can then move on to my TBR-pile.

  5. Myrthe,
    Yes, I mentioned that book. Frida tagged me and I am tagging you if you are into it. Would you be willing to share 8 new things about yourself?

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