On September 23, Armenian National Congress (ANC) opposition bloc rally kicked off at Yerevan’s Liberty Square 20 minutes later than scheduled. Armenian Police estimated the number of rally participants at 5 thousand people.
Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper editor-in-chief Nikol Pashinyan opened the rally, reminding those gathered that 20 years ago, Aram Manukyan, on behalf of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Armenia, declared the republic’s independence.
Pashinyan went on to slam current ruling regime led by Serzh Sargsyan and Robert Kocharian, threatening them with public indignation. As he stressed, ANC determination to struggle against oligarchic regime remains unwavering.
The mother of one of the victims of March 1, 2008 events, Tigran Khachatryan, delivered a speech, accusing the authorities of inactivity in revealing and punishing those responsible.
“The ruling authorities will face a proper retribution for their inactivity,” Pashinyan stressed.
RPA members turn in party cards
Armenian National Movement (ANM) board chairman showed several party cards to participants of ANC rally in Yerevan.
As Aram Manukyan noted, great number of party cards were turned in by the members of ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) after ANC leader Levon Ter-Petrossian announced about activation of rallies. Manukyan refrained from revealing the cardholders’ names for safety reasons.
A triple “Yes” to civil disobedience
ANC coordinator urged those present at Yerevan-hosted rally to prepare for civil disobedience march.
“In March, ANC urged its supporters for civil disobedience campaign. The authorities, aware of public determination, were forced to make concessions and initiate a dialogue. However, the authorities stopped halfway, refusing to make further concessions, believing internal political pressure in Armenia to have subsided,” Levon Zurabyan stressed.
Zurabyan called on those gathered to meet the challenge by gathering vast masses in the Liberty Square.
“We’re must prove the regime that the struggle is not over with the release of political prisoners. Are we ready to fight till the end?” Manukyan questioned those gathered, who chanted, “Yes, Yes, Yes!” in reply.
Opposition’s hand of cooperation
The authorities rejected the hand of cooperation we extended, the leader of Republic party said.
“Yet, the opposition is not the one to hold a grudge, the coalition is,” Aram Sargsyan stated at ANC rally.
The People’s Party of Armenia leader, Stepan Demirchyan, in turn, called on rally participants to raise their voice in protest against the authorities for humiliating the dignity of people.
Weak nerves and burned photos
A young man felt unwell at ANC rally. The doctors present on site, provided the young man with emergency aid. Similarly, a woman felt unwell during the last ANC rally.
In an act of protest, an elderly woman burned the photo of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan.
Promise of frequent opposition rallies
Armenian National Congress launches a new stage of struggle against the ruling authorities, ANC leader stressed.
As Levon Ter-Petrossian stated at the rally, despite Congress attempts to solve the political crisis through civilized methods, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan won’t agree to concessions unless pressured.
As Ter-Petrossian announced in this context, more frequent rallies are under way, with ANC posing new demands to authorities.
Here belong: pre-term president and parliament elections; introduction of ANC-suggested amendments to Electoral Code; discovery of March 1, 2008 events; release of detained ANC supporter Tigran Arakelyan; reversion of a ban on street trading. Ter-Petrossian spoke against construction of new multi-storey buildings in the capital as well as prosecution of media.
“With the first two demands of key importance, we, however are ready for reasonable compromise,” ANC leader concluded.
The next rally of Armenian National Congress bloc has been scheduled for September 30.
“I’d like to instruct every one of you, rather than request, to bring 5 more people to the next rally,” Levon Ter-Petrossian said, addressing those gathered.
“The proof of crucial events will be given to you at the next rally,” ANC leader assured.