Tag Archives: politics

We refuse to pay 150 Dram for transport!- And Other Protests

Armenia is a country of protests; daily protests that take place all around the capital, particularly near the Opera and on the main streets with the embassies and government buildings. Within a few days, I saw 3 protests and took part in 2 of them.

The 1st was in front of the Russian embassy, where we were herded to the side, out of the officials’ view, against the inhumane treatment of an Armenian detainee accused of causing the deaths of 18 and the injury of 48 others. His lorry had experienced problems, possibly with the brakes or possibly with the tires, and turned over before crashing into a bus full of people. The Armenian driver of the lorry was taken to the hospital and given a woman’s robe before being paraded around in this during the court hearing, alongside being imprisoned while embarrassingly still wearing the robe and slippers.


The 2nd protest was near the Opera, against the low pensions that war veterans receive today. The amount is truly pitiable, an extremely low step taken by our oligarchical government. War veterans receive 30-50,000 drams, between $75 and $125 a month. Boggles my mind how one can expect another to live with such a measly amount. 20130721_202938 20130721_202957 20130721_202950

The third protest I so enthusiastically took part in began before the parliament building and our march took us from street to street until we were on some of the busiest ones. Here, we stopped the buses, removed any signs that indicated the pay to now be 150 drams, and stuck all over the transports flyers and pictures that condemned the raising of the prices and demanded we all pay the original fare of 100 drams. 100 drams is just about 23-27 cents, depending on the exchange rate. There were buses that had refused to increase the fare and taxis about which would take people to certain places for free. We got honks of support and cheers of approval. We increased our numbers as we walked and cried out at every corner that we, and only we, can protect our own rights. People joined as we walked by, store owners peeked out and stood on their doorsteps to watch or cheer on their support, and the people standing at every stop were encouraged to follow example and refuse to pay the new amount.

Together, with the whole country doing the same thing, we can make a difference. In Armenia, you ride the bus and pay at the end. As such, each and every citizen is encouraged to pay 100 drams before jumping out, encouraging those around them to do the same. Let’s drop this guise of a sheep and stand up tall with head held high. The people hold the power, they just need to realize that it lies in their collective strength!

“Sex as a police punishment”- Article about Police Brutalities in Turkey Today

Source: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/sex-as-a-police-punishment-.aspx?pageID=500&eid=258

What you will read below is extremely disturbing. It is the firsthand impressions of a Boğaziçi (Bosphorus) University student who was detained by police in connection with the Gezi Park incidents in Istanbul.

We, as a generation, grew up in an atmosphere of state brutality, when most of the time sex crimes were part of the torture process during military regimes. Horrible stories and horrible statements were heard. One example is the unforgettable self-confession of a retired general of the September 12 regime. He said, “When I have rock-hard young men at my service, why should I use batons?” when he was asked about torture done with batons… He was arguing that it did not happen, why he should use the baton, when he had other weapons…

Daily News Photo, Emrah Gürel

That was the 1980s. We thought those days were over… Now, it is 33 years later. We live in the age of limitless, endless information exchange where nothing can be hidden… When everything is documented, police brutality is filmed, recorded, not tolerated, unless encouraged by dark-minded administrators…

I will not go on discussing how pathetic a man can be when he uses his sexual skills as a punishment for the other sex. How pathetic it is for him to see sex as punishment… We can discuss that later.

The entry you will read below came through the Internet. It was on the Facebook page of the person narrating. It was also in Hürriyet columnist Yalçın Bayer’s web version of his column. It was sent to Yalçın Bayer by Professor Işık Aytaç, again from Bosphorus University, as the account of her student Erkan Yolalan, who shared his story on his Facebook page.

Erkan Yolalan first thanks everybody who has assisted him, especially to those who fetched him a lawyer.
Here is his story:

“I am at home, I’m fine. I want to write what I went through. My only aim is that everybody knows what is being experienced while in detention. I have no other aim; I want to say that at the beginning. I will write all of the events that happened to me from the beginning and with all swear words and insults included. With all its openness…

“Last night (June 3, 2013) around 9 p.m. I was detained in Beşiktaş, at traffic lights on Barbaros Avenue. I was not involved in any action like swearing or throwing stones. They took me in bending my arm the moment they saw me. Some friends of mine saw on TV how I was taken into custody. Then hell began.

“After crossing the lights in the direction of the seaside, while I was at the edge of the platform where the IETT bus stops are at the seaside, any policeman who was there and any riot police squad member (çevik kuvvet) who saw me started kicking and punching me. For about 100-150 meters, in other words, all the way to the Kadıköy ferry station, whoever was present there was kicking and punching. Insults and curses such as ‘Are you the ones to save this country, mother f***, sons of ****,’ never ended. I could not count how many people hit me before I reached the detention bus.

“Just as I was taken near the buses, a few policemen called from behind a bus, ‘Bring him here.’ They took me behind the bus and started kicking and punching me there. I learned later that because of the cameras they took me behind the bus to beat me.

“When I was inside the detention bus (İETT) the lights were out, and I heard a girl’s voice begging inside the bus: ‘I did not do anything, sir.’ I could not even see who was hitting me as I was taken inside the bus and after I was in the bus. The only thing I was able to do in the dark was to cover my head. Curses and insults continued. I sat. Everyone who was passing near me was hitting me. I got up and went to a corner. They wanted me to take a seat again. I told them everyone who passed by was hitting me when I was seated.

They again swore, slapped and punched me and made me sit.

“They were hitting the girl and throttling her. A civilian policeman whose name is İsmail said exactly this to the girl, ‘I will bend you over and f*** you right now.’ [He – Erkan Yolalan- later added that this policeman İsmail also said, “Now that it is dark and the lights are off I will ****”]

“And the response of the girl was heartbreaking. With a low voice, she could only say ‘Yes, sir.’
“And next, we, the three people present at the bus, were forced to shout: ‘I love the Turkish police. I love my country.’ They made us yell this again and again ordered us to make it ‘louder, louder.’ The insults and beating did not come to an end.

“The atmosphere seemed a bit calmer, but this time they brought another young person. The guy’s nose was broken. When I asked him why he didn’t protect his face, he told me ‘Two people held me by force and a third person punched my nose three times.’ From time to time there were others brought in.

“A young person named Mustafa from Bahçeşehir University was brought then. Twenty policemen from the riot squad had attacked him, and he looked too weak even to stand up. Slapping and punching him near the detention bus was not enough for them, they hit his head with a helmet. That was not enough either, they hit his head on the bus window. They took him inside the bus while continuously hitting him. His hands were cuffed from behind; his head was bleeding; they made him sit on the floor.

“We saw his head bleeding. I went near him and held a cloth (the bloody t-shirt of the guy whose nose was broken) to his wound to stop the bleeding. This police named Süleyman cursed at me and told me to ‘f*** off’ to my seat. I told him, ‘He is bleeding.’ He said, ‘He can bleed.’ He did not care at all. They were holding the guy in handcuffs with all his injuries. We pointed that out to a couple of policemen. Finally, one of them opened the cuffs.

“Actually the second heartbreaking incident happened when we were at the police station for statements. Mustafa asked me this: ‘Did they hit me at the bus? What happened?’ The guy could not remember. He was not fully conscious while he was on the bus.

“As a last point, we could not go to the toilet while we were at the bus. They only gave us a bottle of water. Then we were taken to the hospital for doctor’s reports and then to the police station.

“Once we were at the police station, an army of lawyers was waiting for us. And the policemen now were talking to us on polite terms.

“I want to thank all the lawyers, all our friends who called the lawyers and everybody who was worried about us. There is not a bit of an exaggeration in this piece. Everything that has been experienced is true and my only aim is for everybody to hear it firsthand.

Revolt against brutality is continuing. This fascist order will be destroyed.”

New Information: This story was at Parliament today, June 6. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Antalya deputy Yıldıray Sapan spoke in Parliament. He referred in short to this incident and demanded that this civilian police officer be found. Sapan also asked how the prime minister, Arınç or the interior minister would feel if such words were said to their daughters, wives, sisters or any other person they know.

I want that policeman to be found also. And the others.

Note to international readers: Do you know what will happen? This person Erkan will be terrorized with scores of lawsuits filed against him by the policemen in question, all testifying that he attacked them first. The public prosecutor will process these cases much faster, even before the cases against them begin. Collecting the evidence will take ages. The guy and all the others on that detention bus and any others testifying for him will be found guilty and will be given jail sentences. Earmark this paragraph for future reference.


Enough is Enough: Armavir Taking a Stand

The villagers of Armavir took a stand today against the inaction of the government that promised them safety. They blocked the roads, refusing to allow anyone to pass.

Earlier this week, a terrible hailstorm destroyed much of the crops the farmer villagers rely on to survive throughout the year. The people demand some sort of compensation, as well as a freeze on bank interests and credit, in order to be able to continue surviving at least. Governor of Armavir, Ashot Ghahramanyan, gave his word that there would be compensation. However, when the people would be receiving this, there was no time frame given. When the governors of the villages and province realized the villagers are unsatisfied with this answer, they provided a 2 day time limit, assuring the protesters that they will have their answer on Thursday.

For the moment, the villagers are partially pacified. However, should there be no new development on the matter within the given time frame, they will take back to the streets and pretty much make the roads hellishly inaccessible to those “in charge” of their survival, let alone well-being.

Blockade on Baghramyan

Source: http://asbarez.com/109280/police-clash-with-opposition-protesters/

Riot police used force to stop opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian and thousands of his supporters from marching towards the presidential palace in Yerevan on Tuesday at the end of daylong protests against President Serzh Sarkisian’s inauguration for a second term.


Rows of security forces armed with shields and truncheons blocked a major street in the city center leading to Sarkisian’s residence to halt the unsanctioned march against the official results of the February 18 presidential election. They pushed back the crowd led by Hovannisian but did not disperse it despite scuffling with protesters for about 20 minutes.


Still, one of Hovannisian’s close associates, Armen Martirosian, was reportedly detained on the spot. The police did not immediately confirm this.


The police warned the crowd to turn back as it approached Marshal Bagramian Avenue from nearby Liberty Square. Hovannisian defied the warning, saying that he and his supporters only want to walk past the presidential offices to the Armenian Genocide Memorial on Tsitsernakabert Hill. “This is our street, our right, our constitution. I’m moving forward,” he said.


“Don’t create tension, Mr. Hovannisian,” General Nerses Nazarian, chief of the Yerevan police, replied before the security forces confronted the protesters.


Vladimir Gasparian, head of Armenia’s national police service, arrived at the scene moments later to negotiate with Hovannisian. The two men stepped aside to speak tête-à-tête. According to Nazarian, the opposition leader was offered to take another route to Tsitsernakabert.


Andreas Ghukasian, another former presidential candidate who also joined the protest, said afterwards that Hovannisian accepted the police offer and is now headed to the genocide memorial together with some of the protesters. He told several demonstrators remaining on the Marshal Bagramian Avenue section that he will stage a sit-in there and that they can join him.


A police official, meanwhile, again warned the remaining crowd to “sober up” and disperse.


Hovannisian also tried to approach the presidential palace with a small group of mostly young supporters earlier in the day. Several of them were detained as a result. A spokesman for the national police, Armen Malkhasian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that they were taken into custody for defying police orders. Some of the opposition youths were reportedly released in the evening.