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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04YEREVAN507 2004-02-27 13:40:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Yerevan
Cable title:  

GOVERNMENT WITHDRAWS CONTROVERSIAL LAW;

Tags:   PGOV PHUM PREL OEXC AM 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
					UNCLAS YEREVAN 000507 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR EUR/CACEN; DRL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL OEXC AM
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT WITHDRAWS CONTROVERSIAL LAW;
STUDENTS PROCEED WITH VICTORY RALLY




1. (U) Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.



--------------------------


SUMMARY


--------------------------





2. (SBU) Prime Minister Andranik Margarian announced
February 26 that the government would formally withdraw
from parliament the controversial "Law on Military
Service." Margarian blamed other ministers for failing
to explain the benefits of the law clearly, thereby
allowing the growing student protests to gain momentum.
Students turned an already scheduled demonstration into
a victory rally February 27, pledging to remain united
and vigilant against any government attempts to re-
introduce the law. End Summary.



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PRIME MINISTER WITHDRAWS LAW


--------------------------





3. (U) Prime Minister Andranik Margarian withdrew the
"Law on Military Service" from the National Assembly on
February 26. The announcement came a day after the
student group "For the Progress of Science" pledged
large demonstrations in the coming days to protest the
law, which would remove draft deferments for graduate
study. Margarian faulted government ministers, in
particular Education Minister Sergo Yeritsian, for
failing to adequately explain the law "in a timely or
appropriate manner", and build public support for its
passage.



--------------------------


VICTORY RALLY DRAWS 2000


--------------------------





4. (U) The student group "For the Development of
Science" turned an already-scheduled demonstration
against the bill into a victory rally in downtown
Yerevan February 27. Approximately 2000 students heard
group organizers praise their discipline and unity
throughout the campaign, and issue calls for vigilance
in case the government were to re-introduce the law.
In an address to the crowd, one student praised his
peer's "complete unity, which led to our ultimate
victory."



5. (SBU) Several leaders of "For the Development of
Science" told us at the rally that they were "shocked"
the government had backed down so quickly (analysis of
the campaign will be provided septel). One student
said that they had not yet delivered the thousands of
signed form letters to parliamentarians. The students
were wary of the government's maneuvers, stating that
perhaps the government would re-introduce the bill in
the summer when students were on break. They pledged
to maintain their movement to monitor any developments.

ORDWAY