Activists Clash with Police on Guy Fawkes Day in Yerevan

YEREVAN (A.W.)—Violence erupted on Mashtots Avenue on Nov. 5 as dozens of protesters clashed with police. The demonstration was sparked by a call for revolution by activist Shant Harutyunyan.

Photo: Arsen Sarkisyan/
Photo: Arsen Sarkisyan/

As over a hundred protesters gathered to embark on what police say was an “unauthorized” march to the Presidential Palace, they encountered resistance by law enforcement officials. Some of the activists hurled small gas-filled bottles that exploded upon impact. Others swung wooden batons at officers. Reportedly, up to 200 law-enforcement officials—including Special Forces and SWAT teams—were deployed to the scene. Some 20 activists were arrested, including Harutyunyan, while around ten police officers suffered injuries.

Just before clashes with the police, Harutyunyan told journalists that he and his supporters were prepared to fight until the last man.  He said they were armed with homemade explosives, batons, and rocks, among other things.

Harutyunyan began a sit-in at Liberty Square on Oct. 31, next to a propped up sign that read, “I Am Starting a Revolution.”

Many among the protesters wore Guy Fawkes masks, a symbol of resistance, as well as the face of activists who identify themselves as Anonymous. The group Anonymous has no leader, and is made up of activists and hacktivists who work collectively towards a certain goal while maintaining anonymity. In recent years, activists around the world have designated Nov. 5—the anniversary of the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605 and an attempt to assassinate King James I of England—as a day of protest against repression and injustice. This year, activists worldwide called for a Million Mask March through social networking sites. The “Heghapokhoutyun” (Revolution) Facebook page was set up in mid-September, posting content aimed at inspiring revolution, and quotes from Harutyunyan.

Earlier in the week, in an interview with CivilNet, Harutyunyan said, “Are there those in this population of three million who are prepared to take risks, to make sacrifices, and to endanger their own lives in order to protect a dignified life and a dignified death? I don’t know whether there are such people… but I imagine that if I am one such man, there must be others. And if there are such people, they will come and join me and pick up a bottle of gasoline. I have two hands and the most I can lift are two bottles of gasoline, and that I will do. But if I had 200 hands, I’d lift 200 bottles of gasoline…”

In an interview with Kentron TV in August, Harutyunyan talked about a “Revolution of Values” that the country needed, and said that among those who had played a formative role in the development of his ideas were Njdeh, Napoleon, Hitler, and Nietzsche. On multiple occasions he has invoked the French Revolution as inspiration, as well as the principles of “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.” He has been outspoken in his criticism of the Armenian government, which he considers a “slave” of the Kremlin.


  1. police were not injured. those are rumors spread by the authorities to create negativity and later be able to invoke fear in the people. Shant and others like him are trying to establish justice by whatever means are available. do not succumb to what the oligarchy and the authorities are dictating. Armenia is at a boiling point and unfortunately is fighting an enemy within; that enemy is the system (not government because they are not there legally) headed by Serzh Sargsyan and his clan of oligarchs all the way down to the police officers. nothing they do can be trusted. they are looting the entire nation. at first it was only building and land; since their degradation has moved onto to the environment and eventually to the dignity of the Armenian people. i implore anyone to reply with any inquiries and i shall supply you with details and facts.

  2. I would like now to see all the armenian youth getting together in front of the armenian embassies and consulates in a demonstration to show support to our people in Armenia ,who are fed up with the Sarkissian mafia administration who is destroying Armenia,and selling out Armenia and Karabagh to the Russsians.

  3. It is encouraging that (just like in Turkey this summer) those in Armenia who oppose their country’s tyranny have become so culturally aware. This contrasts with the dinosaur-like minds of Armenia’s tyrants. Those now in power, with their leather-clad private-sector goons and their “Special Forces” public-sector goons, cannot be reasoned with and will never be persuaded to change their attitudes. They must be opposed on the streets while being studiously ignored in every other aspect of life: in that way their self-established self-importance will evaporate. Once they are seen to have no relevance in a future, better Armenia, they will have no power and no sustainability. BTW, the “anonymous” mask is a cultural reference taken from the 2006 film “V for Vendetta”. There is no “capital A” Anonymous – anonymous is everyone who is oppressed by those in power.

  4. Yes! Good for our brave brothers and sisters willing to save our country. We in the Diaspora support your courage. When the people become fed-up, this is bound to happen. If it does not succeed today, it will succeed tomorrow. Our Armenian brothers know that they deserve to have a better country, and it’s great that some have decided to take action. The regime was warned many times: if you deny democracy to your people, revolution is inevitable.

    Of course, once the movement gets momentum, we Diasporans need to provide leadership, knowledge, and advice to the movement to make sure it does not get out of hand (especially under the “inspiration of Hitler and French Revolution”). After all, we who have chosen to live in successful democracies such as the United States know how such states function. Armenia first needs to discard its current poorly drafted constitution and adopt a constitution modeled after a successful democracy. My preference: the United States, the most spectacularly successful and longest lasting one. If we Armenian-Americans can benefit from it, so can our brethren in Armenia. If thousands of Armenians choose to come, live, and prosper there, Armenians in Armenia deserve it too.

    • Vahagn jan: the issue is not the constitution, its fine – the problem is adhering to and enforcing the constitution. most of the injustices are quite often in direct contradiction to what is in the constitution thus forcing the people to demand that the authorities act within the law. furthermore, Armenia and Armenians do not need “leadership, knowledge and advice” from the Diaspora, especially “once it gains momentum”. what it/they do need is the proper moral support (and selective financial support) NOW. most in the Diaspora are either unaware or indifferent or even worse both. the Diaspora needs to be Armenia-centric in order to be of any use to Armenia and its people which should include all Armenians. those living abroad are there most often out of the result of the Genocide and prior massacres, therefore Armenia should not be viewed as a “there” if one considers it as an outside entity one can not be of any help to the fatherland. the administration needs to change; i only know of two ways: outright revolution which at this time is not a palpable solution (unfortunately) or working outside the system. Nakhakhorurdaran ( is that group which is offering a viable and peaceful solution.

    • Well, koko, the activists need both: Diaspora’s moral and financial support, and they do need our advice. The fact that this kid is inspired by Hitler shows the need for advice. And the fact that you think the Armenian constitution is fine also shows the need for the advice. A constitution is the blueprint of a country. You set it wrong, the country will go the wrong way. The difference between the U.S. and other countries in the region is not because Americans are a better people, but because they started it with the right blueprint. And we Armenian-Americans have a wealth of knowledge about how a successful system works. It would be foolish on our part not to use that knowledge to help those in Armenia.

      It is a major mistake of many of our activists to think that the regime is violating the constitution. The real problem is that the constitution is so full of contradictions, that the regime can rely on the parts of the constitution that are suitable for its needs and claim that its actions did not violate the constitution. For instance, the Armenian constitution guarantees the freedom of speech: a very vague statement. At the same time, it says that people cannot offend someone else’s dignity. That is the typical Armenian thug’s code of conduct put right in the constitution. And as a result, if a newspaper harshly criticizes an official, it can be sued and shot down just because it “offended” the official’s “dignity.” By contrast, the U.S. constitution is crystal clear: no law can abridge the freedom of speech. Any exceptions (threats, libel) have been carved out by the U.S. supreme court, ensuring that the exceptions are very narrow.

      The Armenian constitution also makes it very easy for the regime to violate the law because of poor separation of powers. There is little independence for judges. Unlike in the U.S., judges in Armenia can be removed even if they have not committed a crime. That is right there in the constitution. That allows judges to be removed if they make a decision that’s against some oligarch’s interests. That kills any hope for stopping corruption through legal means.

      Another problem is the very long (five years) period between elections. In the U.S., we the people know that if we don’t like a congressman, we can vote him out in two years. Imagine how much harder it would be for Armenia’s regime to fix elections if they had to do it every two years instead of five.

      Yet another problem is the centralized nature of the Armenian state encoded in the constitution. Serzh can appoint and remove the governors of marzes if they dare to oppose to him. Imagine how much harder it would be for Serzh to control elections in marzes if marzes could elect their own governors and pass their own laws, as it is in the U.S. or, for that matter, in Switzerland. It makes it so much harder for a dictator to control a country.

      Any written constitution has the inherent power to makes different forces use it for their own goals. The problem with the Armenian constitution is that it has such big holes through which the regime can drive its criminal agenda. A successful constitution like the U.S. one, on the other hand, divides and pits different players against each other, so no one will let others overstep their boundaries. And it has turned the U.S. from a country of 3 million to a superpower. It would be foolish not to try it in Armenia.

  5. Well, I am a bit alarmed at this man’s inspiration sources: “Napoleon, Hitler and Nietzsche”; all the more that he encourages people to “take up gasolin bottles” and bring injury and damage to others, that is if the information is true. At any rate. this is not the kind of revolution we need. I would support and encourage peaceful protest actions by all means, but not one who seeks to bring change by violent conforntation.

  6. “Just before clashes with the police, Harutyunyan told journalists that he and his supporters were prepared to fight until the last man. He said they were armed with homemade explosives, batons, and rocks, among other things.”

    “and said that among those who had played a formative role in the development of his ideas were Njdeh, Napoleon, Hitler, and Nietzsche.”

    Listen, I see the destructive problems in Armenia and I want to see positive changes as much as the next guy, but seriously, is this the guy you want to lead that change? By hurling bottles of gasoline?

    Seriously? Hitler? WTF?

    Find someone better to change the country please.

  7. well,well we didnt have wait too log as always. And once again globalist scumbags now trying to destabilize Hayastan. Just like they did/doing with syrya egypt ets. And all these because one reason that Armenia didn’t want to go along with EU-Globalists-Corrupt-Mafia organisation. But chooses Russian trade deal which is will benefit country significantly. And that is included military cooperation with Russian. So you smart pants out there why don’t you do your homework before you expressing your “patriotism” or you just are the part of all problem.
    This is why its happening →

    • Edo, not only are you deeply mistaken but it is you who needs to do your homework. regardless of his tactics, there is not a crooked bone in Shant’s body – yours i have suspicions. Shant’s issue was not the Customs Union it was the corrupt oligarchic system that many refer to as the government of Armenia. if you are not for an Armenia that is self governing and are fine with the current situation where we are nothing more than an occupied region of Russia and every dictation comes from Moscow then it is your “patriotism” that is in question.

  8. I agree that something should be done to overthrow the oligarchs but please Mr Harutyunyan do not draw inspiration from Hitler and Nietzsche. One was a madman that was responsible for the death of millions of people including the genocide of the Jews and the other although a genius in many ways ended up in a lunatic asylum. There are many noteworthy historical characters that you can use to draw your inspiration from.

  9. Another reason for the masks is because the government’s KGB/”intelligence” thugs use cameras to record and identity protesters and activists.

  10. Like it or not, Armenia without Russia hardly stands a chance. Without Russia’s backing, and yes near-rule of Armenia, how long do you think it would take for the Turks on one side and their fellow Turks, the Azeris, on the other, to come crashing down on Armenia? And if anyone seriously thinks the West would help us, just have a look at the history of the Armenian people/nation since about 1875. The West has consistently deserted Armenia in it’s times of need. Russia on the other hand has stood by Armenia, albeit largely because of mutually common interests. Do we Armenians really want to give Russia a reason not to share those mutually common interests? Bottom line, Armenia is in the Russian sphere of influence. To say otherwise is simply naive! All this goes to say that positive change for Armenia is good, but lets be extremely careful with that change, certainly in no way to alienate Russia.

    • Russia will throw away Armenia like a used handkerchief the moment it no longer needs Armenia, as it has happened many times before: in 1915 (Genocide), in 1920 (Kars), and 1988 (Sumgait). That is what awaits Armenia if it keeps relying on Russia. Instead, Armenia needs to become powerful so it can protect itself when Russia abandons it. Only the Armenian people can make Armenia powerful (through immigration and investment), and the only way that can happen is by establishing democracy, because Armenians are not willing to live in an undemocratic Armenia.

      Being democratic does not mean being anti-Russian. Being like the U.S. (i.e. adopting a U.S.-style democracy) does not mean being with the U.S. In fact, in a democratic Armenia, the people will not let the government to leave Russia, because they know it’s not in their interests. However, the difference is that the people’s voice will be counted, instead of now, when the ruling thugs choose policies that are good for them and that are imposed on them by outsiders, with complete disregard of people’s wishes.

    • as usual our Azerbaijani nomad guest misrepresents historical facts.
      Instead of blaming his Turkic brothers and siblings for the Armenian Genocide in 1915 and the massacres of Armenians by Azerbaijani Musavat nomads in Sumgait, Kirovabad, and Baku – somehow Russians are to blame.

      Here is a historical tidbit, buddy boy: in 1993 when Artsakh’s Armenian mountain warriors were crushing the invading TatarTurk nomadic hordes, Turkey massed an invasion army at the border of RoA to invade Southern Armenia and save their nomadic cousins from the impending military disaster. Guess which country told them to get lost – which Turks did in haste. It wasn’t your favourite democracy US, nor any of the other European powerhouse democracies. Yep, it was Russia. CIS commander Shaposhnikov and FM Kozyrev warned that an invasion of a CIS country by a NATO member could trigger use of nuclear weapons by Russia under the Tashkent treaty.

      On another occasion, our good neighbor Georgia, which had fallen under the spell of Neocon Turkophile agent Saakashvili, decided to go on an adventure. Saakashvili’s neocon boss Dick Cheney (from that cradle of Democracy USA) assured their Ivy League golden boy they’d help. We all know of course what happened: Saakashvili’s NATO trained and equipped military was crushed, all his ‘friends’ abandoned him, and Abkhazia and South Ossetia flew out of orbit permanently.

    • As usual, our resident self-hating pseudo-patriot is obsessed with my posts and has come for some more debunking. Here is some more education, buddy boy. In 1992, the Russia provided soldiers and tanks to Azebaijan, driving Armenians from northern NKR and nearly wiping out Artsakh. Shortly before that, in “Operation Ring,” Russians and Azeris wiped out entire Armenian villages in and around NKR. In 1988, the Russians waited while Armenians were being massacred in Sumgait for three days. Just because back then they needed Azerbaijan more than Armenia.

      Ready for more education, buddy boy? In 1921, Russia handed Kars to the Turks, just because they needed Turkey more than Armenia. In 1920, Russians waited while Turks nearly annihilated Armenia, just so Armenia would beg Russia for help. Again, just because Russia had its plans to Sovietize Armenians.

      In 1917, Russia plunged into a revolution and a civil war, and Russian soldiers decided to abandon the newly liberated Western Armenia. Again, the needs for Armenians were worthless to Russia’s internal politics.

      In 1914, Armenians, relying on Russia, were convinced that Russia would conquer Western Armenia. Instead, Russia focused its armies against the German front, taking valuable military resources away from the Caucasus front. Thousands of Armenian soldiers, who were ready to fight the Turks and prevent the Genocide, were taken to the German front. The reduced Russian troops in the Caucasus front kept attacking and then retreating, leaving Armenians exposed to the Genocide. Again, just because Russia, which was so incompetent that it was being utterly defeated by Germans, did not regard Armenia as a priority.

      Russia has proven one thing. Due to its instability and changing whims, it will abandon Armenia when it no longer needs it. But of course, self-hating pseudo-patriots like you will keep advocating for eternal reliance on Russia, which can only lead to destruction of Armenia.

  11. I shall reply anti-chronologically,since I found out the last few8above) are those that are of more concern,thus:-
    Robert,please take things a bit more easily…
    We do not want Revolutions-with gasoline filled bottles-as the leader of this group or groups has declared.
    What Armenia st this juncture needs is strong will do by and by loosen the grip on Monopolies(a bit fast now in light of such threats,that might ignite more crowds.(Become like Arab ones).No sir,
    We are not that naive or that much AMOKHAVAR.What we need is
    Cooperation between the Diaspora and RA.I suggested many times over
    1.To have 5 permanent Delegates from our Five main Diaspora AREAS,N.& S.America(s),.EU.RF and the Middle EAST within the Diaspora Ministry.Latter is not cooperating with the Armenian Diaspora as it should-.
    2.I have sent a few emailsmonths or even more than a year ago to the authorities in rA, to by and by(after those elections) to admit people that were in the opposite fieñld such as Paruyr Hairikian,Raffi Hovhannissian and others,placing them in important positions in Govt.pres. Sege sargsyan, began that by jyst placing Shavarsh Kocharian and Geghamian artashes….but there are many more able `people,well educated that deserve to occupy postts,thus paving the way towards a desired Democratic(Socialis).Yes I am of the kind that still insist that Armenia plus 14 other republics should ahve adopted the Scandinavian mode of Govt. Not from ultra-totalitarian communism to ¨Free,but WILD free market economy.
    3.In order to quell the desire for above like (R)evolutions….
    my viewppoint is that 2/3 political parties that still carry some power,say ARF, the Ramgavars and Heritage,should get together and insist for a calm EVOLUTION,sending some officials from within their Ranks to Sweden,Finland Denmark and Norway to closely study mode of Gov.t there -not from home,RA, by internet or books) That kind of Governance must be learned in practice or watching the Systems work there5 in practice.Enough of the Free wild mart Ecponomy for a poor country such as Republic of Armenia.
    I also abhor the totalitarian regimes….

  12. Shant is not a kid, he is around 50 years old, a brilliant mind and has been in the struggle for Armenian independence since the 80’s (his father since the 60’s. i don’t know where they got the Hitler thing, i’ve listened to him for decades and have never heard that from his lips. regarding the activists, upholding the law etc. – i don’t know when was the last time you’ve been to Armenia or if you’ve ever been but i suggest you go and immerse yourself within the civil society and its issues then determine what needs to be done. assuming you are the same Vahagn that replied to the Russophile Robert’s comments, i wholeheartedly agree, but at the same time please do not underestimate the Armenian peoples’ (i’m not referring to that portion which is willing to sell their souls for 5000dram or so) understanding of justice and democracy and all of its values. the REAL activists on the ground are know all this very well. maybe it is not your intention but whenever i hear that Armenia needs to learn this or that from the Diaspora appears as though Armenia and its people are a charity case not unlike homeless dogs or oil soaked seals. the inconsistencies that you speak of in the constitution are of small significance to the big picture, if the governing bodies adhered to the law/constitution most of the injustices that are choking the citizens of Armenia would not be. by the way this is my 5th decade as a US citizen and know well its virtues and some of its faults – we all know the issues of freedom of speech within the US and events that they’ve led to, at times much, much more bloody than what Shant did.

    • Yup, koko, I am the same Vahagn with the beautiful brown square, well known among the regular posters on this website :) When I read “Hitler,” I naturally pictured a 16-17 year old impressionable kid. I will trust what you say about him. Given that the name of the TV program that reported the “Hitler” quote was “Kentron,” it’s likely that the quote was fabricated, as any government-sponsored “news” in Armenia.

      No, it is not my intention to treat Armenians as charity case. I think there is no shame in learning, we all have things to learn and things to teach. For example, koko, I have no idea what this preparliament is. Can you describe it briefly? Between my work, family, passtimes, and favorite TV shows (like “Homeland”), I am too busy and too lazy to research on my own.

      So, you claim the constitution is not the problem, the problem is that officials do not follow the law. Well, how do you make them follow the law? My belief is that Americans inherently are no more law abiding than Armenians (to say otherwise would be racist). And it is also my belief that it is the U.S. constitution that forces U.S. officials to follow the law by letting each branch check-and-balance the others. Do you disagree? If yes, how do you propose that we ensure that Armenian officials follow the law? And how do we ensure that the future elected officials follow it too?

    • {“.. Shant is not a kid, he is around 50 years old, a brilliant mind…”}:

      A brilliant mind ? he is a brilliant nut.
      He belongs in a mental institution.
      What kind of ‘brilliant’ mind attacks random people with a sharpened 4-foot-long wooden stick and detonates magnesium bombs in public ?

      You say this is your 5th decade as US citizen ?
      Please tell us what would happen to a group of people who protested in US, without a permit, on a major downtown public street and just ran onto the middle of street, in the middle of traffic.
      Furthermore, these ‘protesters’ were all carrying 4-foot-long sharpened, wooden batons (…for the purpose of attacking people).
      Furthermore, these ‘protesters’ were detonating magnesium bombs in public, which could have injured or maimed not only police officers, but members of public and media.

      Please tell a fellow US citizen how would American law enforcement treat a similar event anywhere in US.
      (I know what would happen: but please juxtapose the behaviour of Yerevan law enforcement with US law enforcement in a similar case for ArmenianWeekly readers).

    • The fact that you, a US citizen, avoided answering a simple question about Yerevan vs US police clearly shows your agenda and biases.
      It shows who and what the “brilliant mind” and his supporters are.

      And why would you assume I haven’t lived in Armenia, or I haven’t visited Armenia ?
      Because I do not blindly support nutjobs like the brilliant nut who detonates magnesium explosives in downtown Yerevan ?

  13. If a leader attempts to stands up the government then he better be good enough to hold his oat to solve the problems. In this case I see trouble makers rather than someone who would make the change in more communicative and interactive ways. To promote solutions will take time and right people. A small country like Armenia a revolution will take us to stone age and there is insentive to many nations to see this come true. Perhaps Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Russia. This clash might be a seed to a larger event in the future. Lets just hope it will not go out of hand.
    Also, for those who address Armenia’s desperate dependence on Russia!! Well: I don’t see that Armenia is the only country in the southern Caucasus which is haunted with that predicament. You know who has been backing Azerbaijan since the fall of Soviet Union and without them Azeri oil won’t give them any better gigs than Armenia. And you know Georgia who has a much more powerful adversary than Armenia to its north and North west. So, I think the Caucasus had, has, and will always will have political volatility. Its the nature of the region.

  14. Avery: why we we comparing with the US? i assumed what i did based on your comments as they are typical of the Diaspora who believe the US is the end all of all that is good.

    Vahagn: you make valid points but i think it is important to know what is happening on the ground. and i would reiterate the same to you, that is why do you feel the need to compare to the US. it is beyond apples and oranges and i do not believe that to say we are more or less law abiding is racist. too much to discuss with this method. if you’d like to supply your email i’ll gladly discuss further.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.