There have been a number of claims on the number of participants in the December 5 rally of opposition parties in Freedom Square in Yerevan.
Through aerial photographs, the Union of Informed Citizens NGO calculated that there were 7400 people in the Freedom Square at around 4:40 pm, when the representative of the opposition Vazgen Manukyan was speaking. In fact, it was the most crowded moment of the rally.
However, those numbers are far from reality.
Thus, more than 40,000 people can be accommodated in Freedom Square only when the whole square is packed.
According to Google Earth software, the area of the square is about 8400 square meters. This means that 5 people have to stand on every square meter in order to accommodate a crowd of 40,000. It is the same as having 100 people in a 20 square meter room.
The same can be demonstrated by mapchecking.com website. It can be used to calculate the approximate number of people gathered anywhere in the world. It is based on the Google Maps software and is used to determine the approximate number of participants in rallies.
According to this website, if five people stand on one square meter, about 41,700 people will be accommodated in the square. However, the available videos and photos prove that the square was not packed with people.
Below we present three photos of the December 5 rally, which were taken by drone at 3:02pm, 4:07pm and 4:44pm. All three photos show that the density of people was high only in one part of the square.
At the beginning of the rally, as of 15:02
As of 16:07
The third picture, as of 16:44, when the opposition parties’ candidate for Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan was speaking
The Union of Informed Citizens was accused of using a photo taken before the start of the rally for the count. However, that photo was taken at around 16:45, when Vazgen Manukyan’s speech started, and after which the rally continued as a march.
As a justification for that accusation, a screenshot of the live broadcast of the Tert.am news website was actively circulated on the Internet, in which the 2:06:10 second of the live broadcast is visible. Some claim that there are more people on that screenshot.
Fip.am counted the number of people in this screenshot, and it makes up about 5200. The calculation was done using the Photoshop count tool.
In other words, there are fewer people in this picture than in the photo taken by the Union of Informed Citizens with a drone. It is the camera angle that makes the difference. The live video of Tert.am shows the relatively dense, crowded part of Freedom Square between the statues of Hovhannes Tumanyan and Alexander Spendiaryan. This may give the impression that the rally was more crowded than it really was.
Due to the camera angle, the crowd of the square seems denser than in the photo taken from a distance, where not only the empty and half empty parts of the square are visible, but also the less dense parts.
This phenomenon is clearly observed in the video made by Fip.am by drone. The first part of the video, which was made at 16:05, shows a large crowd, and as the drone rises, the size of the crowd becomes more obvious, and the empty parts of the square become clearly visible. The second part of the video was made minutes later, at a vertical height from the square. It clearly shows the distribution of density of people in the square. The third part of the video was made at 16:45, and it clearly shows how the change of angle affects the visual perception of the number of people gathered in the square.
Thus, the aforementioned evidence proves that there could not be 40,000 people in Freedom Square on December 5. Moreover, a detailed analysis once again proves that the number of participants in the demonstration was about 7400.