(Saturday, May 7)
Several newspapers report on the beating of Shahen Petrosian, a former head of the Armenian civil aviation authority critical of the current government. According to “Zhamanak Yerevan,” Petrosian mockingly shouted Gagik Tsarukian’s unflattering nickname, Dodi Gago, as he drank alcohol and listened to music with his son in a rock club in downtown Yerevan. The paper says that shortly afterwards a group of burly men arrived at the club, forced Petrosian into their car and drove him in an unknown direction. He was beaten unconscious before being dumped in the city’s northern Nor Nork suburb a couple of hours later.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” claims that traders in a big retail market in Yerevan’s western Malatia-Sebastia district were forced by the market administration to attend a campaign rally held there on Friday by Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian and his Republican Party (HHK). The paper says hundreds of them were for hours locked in the market and held as “hostages” before being to the nearby rally venue.
“Hayots Ashkhar” accuses the radical opposition of grossly inflating the number of people who attended its last rally in Yerevan. The paper says police are right to assert that only up to 3,200 people, not 30,000, turned out for the protest. “As is known, the meeting was organized by four parties: Impeachment, the HHSh, Nor Zhamanakner, and Hanrapetutyun. And that means 750 people per each of them. Admittedly, grandiose [opposition] promises to raise hell for the criminal regime sound pathetic against this backdrop.”
“A last-minute decision [by opposition parties] to unite will not avert the danger of dispersing opposition supporters for a number of reasons,” writes “Hayastani Hanrapetutyun.” “First of all, only three forces are uniting and they are not the most influential ones.” “Secondly, the election code does not allow for unification after nomination. Thirdly, none of those three forces is going to cede its votes to its partners.”
“Hayk” says Serzh Sarkisian has fallen out with Yerevan Mayor Yervand Zakharian and is said to have promised to ensure the latter’s dismissal after the elections. The paper says Sarkisian thinks that Zakharian must be replaced by his predecessor, Robert Nazarian.