Police warned several hundred Armenians gathered in a cemetery here yesterday that any attempt to protest in the streets would result in a tough crackdown. A fleet of more than 30 buses brought security men to the Armenian cemetery, where they outnumbered protesters by three to one. Leading the police, Gen. Nikolai Sharankov moved about the crowd to speak directly to known activists.
``I warn you now that my men will arrest anyone attempting to take this meeting outside the cemetery,'' he told Armenian artist Karyun Nagapetyan, a prominent speaker at previous protest meetings. ``I hold you responsible for ensuring there is no disorderly behavior.''
Though heated arguments broke out, speakers' calls for calm received murmurs of approval.
In Nagorno-Karabakh, which last week unilaterally seceded from Azerbaijan, a general strike has been under way since May. In Karabakh's main city, Stepanakert, an Armenian housewife said residents were relying mainly on locally produced food because transport routes had been cut off.
``People are sitting home. No factories are working. They're just waiting to see what Moscow does,'' she said by telephone.