“Aravot” reports more details of what it regards as a police rampage during the dispersion of this week’s opposition rally. The paper says the security forces’ actions ran counter to the Armenian law on police. “It would be naïve to hope that the prosecutor’s office will pay attention to the facts of police overstepping the legal boundaries now that it has already been declared at the highest level that the police actions were adequate and deserve encouragement.”
“Azg” notes that April 16 is officially marked as “the Day of Police” in Armenia and suggests sarcastically that police officers be presented with video and still cameras because of their “special liking of our professional devices.” “Furthermore, they have started loving us journalists with peculiar love, losing no opportunity to caress us with fists, feet and even truncheons,” the paper writes. The police behavior on the night from Monday to Tuesday was an “example of sadism.” Scores of law-enforcement officers instantly became “truncheon-wielding animals.” “Instead of an open, transparent society, we have and an atmosphere of suspicion, fear and hatred,” “Azg” concludes, comparing the existing situation to “dark dictatorial times.”
“Iravunk” praises protesters for putting up “fairly serious resistance” to the “best security forces” of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. “That testifies to a particular public mood…By brutally suppressing the opposition actions, Robert Kocharian launched the countdown for regime change with his own hands.” The paper recalls that Kocharian’s predecessor, Levon Ter-Petrosian, was forced to quit only 18 months after ordering tanks into the streets of Yerevan in September 1996. “Taking into account the fact that the events on Baghramian Avenue surpassed what happened in 1996 in terms of the scale of violence applied, it is logical to suggest that the countdown time will expire much earlier this time around.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the criminal prosecution of senior members of Armenia’s most radical opposition group, Hanrapetutyun, shows that the authorities are intent on banning the party.
“Aravot” scoffs at the fresh offer of “dialogue” made by the ruling coalition to the opposition. The paper says none of its ostensibly compromise proposals to the opposition is “tangible.” “If even after so many ‘constructive’ proposals the opposition does not agree to a dialogue it will be in serious trouble; the special police will conduct a dialogue with the oppositionists.”
“Yerkir” calls on the conflicting parties to stop blaming each other and says dialogue is the only way to reduce the tensions. “There is still time for that,” the paper says. “Otherwise, the government-opposition confrontation will deplete resources on both sides, inevitably leading to severe losses for the people and the state.”