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This Stray Dog Became The Symbol Of A Protest Movement And Found A Home

Meet Spitak, or "Whitey," the dog who marched alongside Armenia's protesters for weeks.

Posted on August 8, 2016, at 3:28 p.m. ET

Things were tense in Armenia for weeks as protestors flooded the streets of Yerevan, the country's capital, and the police responded with force.

The situation began with a hostage situation and only spiraled from there. Armed supporters of a fringe opposition leader stormed a police station on July 17 and took nine hostages. On the streets, people gathered first in support of a peaceful solution to the crisis, then to call on all political prisoners to be released, eventually calling for the Armenian president's resignation.
Karen Minasyan / AFP / Getty Images

The situation began with a hostage situation and only spiraled from there. Armed supporters of a fringe opposition leader stormed a police station on July 17 and took nine hostages. On the streets, people gathered first in support of a peaceful solution to the crisis, then to call on all political prisoners to be released, eventually calling for the Armenian president's resignation.

As the protests grew in size and scope, at one point reaching an estimated 10-20,000 people, the police response turned at times brutal, according to Human Rights Watch.

“The Armenian authorities’ response to Yerevan’s largely peaceful protests has been excessive and cruel,” Jane Buchanan, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “The tense atmosphere at some protests is no justification for detaining people arbitrarily, beating them, and bringing disproportionate criminal charges against them.”
Karen Minasyan / AFP / Getty Images

“The Armenian authorities’ response to Yerevan’s largely peaceful protests has been excessive and cruel,” Jane Buchanan, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “The tense atmosphere at some protests is no justification for detaining people arbitrarily, beating them, and bringing disproportionate criminal charges against them.”

The protests finally began to wind down after the hostage takers surrendered on July 31. But some protests still continued for days afterwards — and throughout it all, there was one loyal attendee of the protests who both sides could agree was amazing.

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Say hello to Spitak, or "Whitey," a stray dog whose attendance at weeks of protests captured the hearts of the protestors and police alike.

Courtesy of Elen Papyan / Via Facebook: spitakthearmenianprotestdog
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Literally every time people gathered, there Spitak was to provide comfort and beg for pets.

Courtesy of Lusine Hayrapetyan

As this video from Radio Free Liberty shows, he was even on the frontline on July 29 when the police broke out the stun grenades against the protestors.

Facebook: video.php

Living on the street can be tough for a dog, especially one as well-loved as Spitak. So the owners of a Facebook page devoted to Spitak began calling for funds to get him food and vaccines.

And so we end with good news! Spitak has found himself a forever home, thanks to the efforts of local group DINGO Team, which helps get dogs off the streets of Armenia.

No word yet, though, on whether he'll continue his political activism from his new home base.
Facebook: spitakthearmenianprotestdog

No word yet, though, on whether he'll continue his political activism from his new home base.

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