On February 29, in Vanadzor ‘Artsakh’ park a rally took place on “The Possibilities of Preventing Election Frauds in Presidential Elections.” About 2000 people were present who expressed their complaints about election frauds and injustice. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor was the organizer of the rally which conducted observation mission during 2008 presidential elections and made necessary steps to prevent election frauds.
The coordinator of HCA Vanadzor, Arthur Sakunts presented the people with the election frauds registered during observation and all the steps made by relevant bodies. Members of Parliament from Heritage party, Zaruhi Postanjyan and Vardan Khachatryan joint the speech of Arthur Sakunts.
A. Sakunts referred to the pressure put on schoolchildren by the directorates of schools. The schoolchildren of some Vanadzor public schools organized a march on February 26 to protect the rights of their teachers who had been obliged to take part in the rally of Serge Sargsyan. The same directors and the teachers ordered the schoolchildren not to speak about oppressions towards them during today’s rally. When A. Sakunts spoke about this fact, the directors present at the rally and their supporters, started to make noise in order to hinder the speech. The directors of schools #8 and #24, Karine Stepanyan and Hasmik Hovsepyan came to the stage to make speeches and to deny those facts, but by A. Sakunts’ request the police officers who followed the order of the rally asked them to go down. The rally participants welcomed this with applause. And A. Sakunts added : “Let the policemen do only their duties.”
The participants reacted the speech of Zarhi Postanjyan with applause and with crying “victory.” Zarhi Postanjyan noted that the actions of the authorities formed during these elections will lead us to a deadlock. “Our demand is fair - to have new fair elections”-said Zaruhi Postanjyan.
Member of Parliament Vardan Khachatryan informed the participants that the claim of the movement is the re-establishment of ongoing justice in Armenia. “Not the candidate but fair elections matter for people. I call you to struggle till the end”-he said.
When A. Sakunts continued the list of frauds, the people from the “team” of Vanadzor mayor tried to interfere with the meeting for several times. The efforts of law enforcement bodies to call them to order were in vain. Then the rally participants themselves started to make remarks trying to call them to order. Seeing that their mission to hinder the rally was almost impossible, they disconnected the electricity in the beauty salon from where the current for the speaker was.
“We can hear you without speakers, too. No one can make people’s voice down”-the participants of the rally turned to Arthur Sakunts. The rally was over but the citizens were sill excited. It was as if “Artsakh” park was an open platform where citizens were expressing their complaints to local TVs, to ‘Gala’ TV of Gyumri and radio ‘Liberty’.