Sunday, February 27, 2011

"Serjik, Bazaz, Osipov!"

With the next meeting coming up in about a day, on the third anniversary of the horrific events of March 1, 2008, the opposition movement has been trying to distribute flyers to inform people about the march. And, as usual, the police are out there harassing the youth distributing flyers, trying to shut them up and scare them off. Ten or so youth were taken to the police station the other day while distributing flyers. And on February 26, again, the police tried to stop the distribution of flyers. Much of this one on the 26th one was caught on video- it is 24:19 minutes long, and captures from 15:32 – 17:08 (3:32-5:08 pm).

The main theme here is that both in a residential area where youth are distributing flyers and where the video starts, and in a city centre road where the youth are pulled over while driving with flyers stuck to the outside of the vehicle, the police can’t give a reason for stopping the youth; they can’t city a law or ordinance or anything that is being violated by the youth, to justify trying to stop them. When one of the police is asked straight on in the residential area, all he can come up with is that what he heard one of the youth yell just moments before, “Serjik Murderer,” is not right to say. “You can’t say that, it’s not right,” is what he repeats over and over. Over course, that doesn’t answer the question, nor is it actually illegal.

And when the youth are pulled over, neither the youth, nor Levon Zurabyan (HAK coordinator) who shows up around 16:16, can get an answer from the police as to what illegal act they’ve supposedly committed. What does happen is that the number of police, police in army fatigues, police cars and vans, and eventually red berets (16:51), grows almost exponentially; the youth start continue their chanting while stuck in the street, including “Serjik Mubarak,” and even starts passing out flyers to passing vehicles. Not surprisingly, and coincidence or not, there’s not too much pushing and shoving until about the time when Bazaz shows up (first glimpse of him at 16:49). You can see him pacing back and forth throughout most of the rest of the video. Not a minute after he arrives he’s already yelling for people to be taken to the station “Bajin Tarek!” And not soon after, the youth start shouting what may be my favorite slogan so far, “Serjik! Bazaz! Osipov!” (16:50).

The group was probably followed in some form or another from the residential area (leave at 15:39, and you can see cop car #0155) until they were pulled over at 16:02; the same plainclothes policeman from the residential area can be seen in the second scene milling about and taking pictures, as can the original police car #0155 (see it clearly at 16:13).

What a show of police presence and force, at least 8-10 or more police cars and vans, red berets, creating traffic, and everything else, for 20 or so activists. Intimidation really seems to be their “prevention.” I suppose it works well when you’ve already shown how far you’re willing to go to keep your power, case in point March 1, 2008, and everything since.

I wonder, in the end, if the police came up with some excuse for their behavior, for illegally harassing and obstructing the youth. Maybe that's what took so long, they couldn't come up with a fake reason. Come to think of it, they've done this so many times,they probably don't even need to bother anymore.

[Addendum: here is the link to the video, looks like I'd forgotten it: ]

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