PanARMENIAN.Net - 15 demands to the authorities put forth during the March 1 rally were reduced to 3 at the rallies held on April 8 and 17. The ANC urged for release of political prisoners, permission to hold demonstrations in Liberty Square and disclosure of the March 1, 2008 events with the following punishment of those guilty. If the demands are not fulfilled, Levon Ter-Petrossian promised to decide on the ANC further steps on April 28, issuing “the last warning to the authorities,” who, for their part released several convicted in the March 1, 2008 case and fiercely deny any possibility of early elections.
In general, the behavior of the ANC leaders during the recent rallies prompted that Levon Ter-Petrossian thinks not about how to throw down the incumbent power but how to calm down the crowd of protesters. During his latest speech, Ter-Petrossian, trying to justify the ANC restraint said they are concerned over the Nagorno Karabakh problem and do not to destabilize Armenia to Azerbaijan’s advantage. However, a question arouses: why didn’t ANC think about it during their previous rallies, when its leaders insisted that Nagorno Karabakh cannot be a reason to mitigate the struggle against the authorities.
The payoff came in due time – the number of protesters, which was steadily growing till March 17, decreased dramatically on April 8. Some political forces in ANC also slammed Ter-Petrossian for attempts to establish a dialogue with the authorities. There are strong rumors that the ANC leader struck a deal with the leadership and abandoned radical moves in exchange for seats in the next parliament. Besides, the fact that the demonstrators were easily allowed into Liberty Square after a swift conversation between ANC coordinator Levon Zurabyan and Armenian deputy police chief Alexander Afyan poured oil on the flames.
Summarizing the above-mentioned, we can conclude that the leader of the Armenian National Congress faces a serious dilemma: either to escalate the conflict with the authorities or get satisfied with fulfillment of some of his demands. However, he apparently understands that choosing the second variant, he will lose considerable part of his supporters. As Heritage party deputy chairman Ruben Hakobyan noted ironically, “in case of regular elections, the camouflage will be all to remain from the ANC.”
The only thing Ter-Petrossian is trying to do now is to discredit any possible rivals and the recent confrontation with Heritage party can serve as a proof of this theory. The other questions will possibly get answers during the April 28 rally, when Levon Ter-Petrossian and his assistants will have to explain their plans to their supporters.