March 1, 2012 - 21:31 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Several thousand demonstrators have gathered for Armenian National Congress (ANC) opposition bloc rally in Yerevan's Liberty square on March 1.
Greeting rally participants, Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper editor-in-chief Nikol Pashinyan proposed to remember the victims of tragic events of March 1, 2008 with applause for their sacrifice rather than a minute of silence.
From February 20, 2008, the Armenian opposition led by first president Levon Ter-Petrossian, who ran for presidency in 2008, but was not elected, held rallies in the central part of Yerevan, protesting against the election results.
The protest actions resulted in unrest and clashes between the police and rally participants on March 1-2. According to the Office of RA Prosecutor General, around 200 people were injured, 10 people were killed, and over 100 people were arrested.
Parent of March 1 events victim speaks at ANC rally
At the rally, the father of the victim of March 1, 2008 tragic events, Gor Kloyan, accused the country’s leadership for coming to power over the dead bodies of their children.
Kloyan’s father slammed European organisations for turning a blind eye to March 1 deaths. He compared the killings with Hrant Dink murder in Istanbul, with both cases left unrevealed.
Every one must be equal before the law
Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper editor-in-chief urged prosecution for those involved in March 1, 2008 events.
“Armenian officials responsible for March 1 events including former and current presidents, Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sargsyan; former parliamentary speaker Hovik Abrahamyan, former police chief Hayk Harutyunyan, National Security Service chief Gorik Hakobyan, Prosecutor General Aghvan Hovsepyan must be prosecuted with their property to be confiscated,” Nikol Pashinyan stressed.
“Every one must be equal before the law,” the oppositionist said.
Armenian National Movement board chair Aram Manukyan slammed the impunity of those responsible for March 1 events.
As he stressed, the leadership is deliberately promoting emigration, rise in poverty and tragic incidents in the army to retain power.
ANC: leadership promotes poverty to retain power
ANC coordinator Levon Zurabyan in turn, pointed out the unsatisfactory situation Armenia has found itself in on the threshold of elections. The oppositionist urged the people to intensify the struggle against the ruling regime by upping involvement in ANC activities.
ANC rep slams parliament-adopted bill on state of emergency
Republic party leader slammed the Armenian authorities over current social and economic situation in the country.
“80% of Armenian population openly confesses to being ready to leave the country, if given a chance,” Aram Sargsyan said.
Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper editor-in-chief Nikol Pashinyan, in turn, criticized the parliament over adoption of the bill “On legal regime of the state of emergency” despite opposition protests.
Opposition believes this bill is unconstitutional since it gives the President personal authorities to declare a state of emergency (the president consults the prime minister and the speaker of the parliament but takes the decision independently), as well as envisages involvement of army to eliminate the threat that resulted in a state of emergency.
Ter-Petrossian to personally draw up ANC parliamentary candidates list
Armenian National Congress leader will personally draw up the list of candidates for oncoming parliamentary elections.
ANC leader Levon Ter-Petrossian stressed the key importance of parliamentary elections.
“Parliamentary race must be viewed as the first step on the way to victory at presidential elections. The parliamentary race win will give us an advantage at presidential elections,” he stressed.
Parliamentary elections in Armenia are due May 6, 2012.
Robert Kocharian a “sunken ship”
The Congress leader dubbed ex-president Robert Kocharian as a “sunken ship”
“Once in the hands of Serzh Sargsyan, the power was forever lost to Robert Kocharian,” Levon Ter-Petrossian said.
The ANC leader urged against viewing any developments at Prosperous Armenia coalition party as ordered by Kocharian. However, Ter-Petrossian didn’t rule out ties between Prosperous Armenia and Kocharian, citing a “conspiracy theory” behind them.
In conclusion, ANC leader explained ex-Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s joining Prosperous Armenia, by mutual interests of both sides.
“Tatars”, Robert Kocharian and Artur Baghdasaryan
The leader of Armenian National Congress said he never called ex-president Robert Kocharian a Tatar for fear of offending the nation who played a key role in world history.
As Levon Ter-Petrossian explained, he merely alluded to the fact that Armenian leadership-created economic system was similar to that of Tatar Khanates.
The ANC leader denied ever calling Orinats Yerkir opposition party leader Artur Baghdasaryan a traitor, noting that the 2nd president Robert Kocharian was the one to call him that.
However, Ter-Petriossian remarked, even the U.S. charge d’affairs for Armenia mentioned Baghdasaryan as corruptible back in 2008.
On Genocide and “victories: of Armenian diplomacy
Armenian National Congress leader commented on French Constitutional Council’s ruling the bill criminalizing the Armenian Genocide denial as unconstitutional.
“Following the adoption of the bill at French Senate, president Serzh Sargsyan and foreign minister Edward Nalbandian were thanking the French leadership and celebrating the victory of Armenian diplomacy.
While the contribution of Armenian diplomacy to the issue remains unclarified, one thing is certain, French parliament adopted the bill to secure the votes of Armenian community at presidential elections, also preventing Turkey’s EU accession,” Levon Ter-Petrossian said at ANC rally.
“Armenian Genocide was once again used as a tool for political profit. Before adopting the Genocide bill, the French Senate should have considered its impact on Yerevan-Ankara ties which are essential in economic development and national security of Armenia,” ANC leader stressed.
As he remarked, “Armenian leadership should have made sure lest the “diplomatic victory” would not yield the same results as those achieved in 1878 in Berlin and in 1920 in Paris, which brought about the annihilation of the whole Western Armenia, with the Republic of Armenia losing half of its lands.”
Next ANC rally scheduled for March 30
The next rally of Armenian National Congress (ANC) opposition bloc has been scheduled for March 30, Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper editor-in-chief Nikol Pashinyan said.
Afterwards, rally participants marched to Myasnikyan square to commemorate the victims of March 1, 2008 events.