“Haykakan Zhamanak” is convinced that Thursday’s beating of Ashot Manucharian was politically motivated. “This hypothesis is confirmed by the fact that Manucharian was beaten up by individuals with a bodyguard’s physique and shaved heads,” the paper argues. They looked like the ones who assaulted human rights activist Mikael Danielian and smashed journalists’ camera at the opposition rally on April 5. “These and other events demonstrate that there is no longer a political leadership in Armenia and that authority in our country today clearly belongs to the shaven heads. These are the persons who falsified the 2003 elections and, having felt since then that they are the real masters of government, are now trying to give the unlawfulness a status of constitutional order.”
“They look like the oligarchs’ bodyguards but could also be employees of the police or the National Security Service or just criminal elements,” comments “Aravot.” “They have not only merged [with the security apparatus], but are simply part of it. Buoyed by absolute impunity, the shaven heads and those who employ them have grown completely impudent.” The paper says crimes like that will never be solved by the authorities. “Therefore, beatings by the shaven heads will continue.”
“Ayb-Fe” criticizes the Armenian opposition for delaying its promised “decisive actions.” “It became finally clear on April 21 that the opposition is gifted with a unique talent for not taking power that has been left without a master.” The paper says the authorities no longer take seriously the opposition threats.
But as “Iravunk” writes, the brutal suppression of the April 13 opposition protests has not lived up to the regime’s expectations and the “wave of demonstrations” in Yerevan continues unabated. The paper says most of the people who attended the opposition gatherings before April 13 were primarily motivated by socioeconomic problems. But those grievances are increasingly giving way to “the factor of dignity.” “The unprecedented brutality of the law-enforcement bodies, the crude televised propaganda overstepping all boundaries of courtesy, attempts at administrative pressure on middle class people mean that public fury is gradually becoming more and more pervasive.” It is not just the poor who and unemployed who took to the streets of Yerevan on Wednesday, according to “Iravunk.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the Armenian opposition will tell supporters to march to the presidential palace on Tuesday from three different directions. They will surround and keep the building “under siege” until Kocharian resigns. But, the paper adds, all of this will happen only if the opposition rallies even more people than it did on Wednesday. “If between 80,000 and 100,000 turn up, Kocharian’s return to the presidential residence will not be possible,” it quotes an opposition leader as saying. In addition, some oppositionists believe that Kocharian will not dare order another violent break-up of the demonstration for fear of a strong international reaction.
Sociologist Hranush Kharatian tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the recent opposition rallies show that the Armenian government’s policies are rejected or “not understood” by a part of the population, “That gives a lot of food for thought,” she says. “There is an objectively correct disaffection among the people.”