Notes From Hairenik
March 25, 2011
This afternoon Raffi was visited by deputies from the National Assembly, approaching him in party contingents. Toward the end of the day the president of the assembly himself, Hovik Abrahamian (aka, moog, or "mouse") arrived on the scene, to try and convince him to stop his protest, but he refused to stop, which was not unexpected. Apparently, the vanity of mocking and ridicule displayed by Abrahamian's fellow party members is expired.

There was more discussion in public before journalists as always about when the hunger strike would end. He again was making the point that it is up to the people to decide, not him.

RFE/RL quoted Raffi stating the following: "My demand is the people’s demand and I’m too little to put up a banner and say, ‘This is what I demand.’ The demand has already been registered and I join that demand." I think that pretty much sums it up.

When I went to visit him a few hours ago I was glad to see that the tent was still there, and I learned he slept comfortably in it during the night. Two evenings prior he was photographed lying on his bench with a tarp pulled over him to keep him dry under the downpour--it was printed on the first page of Aravot newspaper. Seems some embarrassing letters sent to the president from various ambassadors made a difference. He also has a small electric heater near his legs to keep him warm, which is definitely needed now that the temperature's dipping once again.

Raffi told me again this evening that he finds his Fast for Freedom empowering. He estimated that a minimum of 2,500 people enter Liberty Square a day, basing that figure on the number of newspapers his party publishes are being distributed by volunteers. The nutritional value delivered by a constant stream of personal support is evidently more satisfying than any hearty meal could ever provide. He shows no signs of wearing down. Extraordinary.

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