“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports on contradictory official explanations of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s decision to cut short his visit to Armenia. The paper accentuates on Ahmadinejad’s failure to visit the genocide memorial in Yerevan and plant a tree there. “Obviously, Ahmadinejad’s statement [in Tehran] is cause for bewilderment,” it says.
“Zhamanak Yerevan” comments on the arrests of supporters of Levon Ter-Petrosian, accusing the Armenian authorities of switching to “unacceptable methods of struggle” against the opposition. “Yesterday’s the real face of this regime, which is ready to use its police forces against its own people, was again exposed,” writes the paper. “This means that this regime’s positions are much more shaky than one could guess. It is panicking over a rally that has not yet been held and is doing everything to scare people and make them give up the thought of taking part in the rally.”
Citing police sources, “Hayk” reports that police officers have been banned from even saying hello to opposition leaders during Friday’s rally. “Incidentally, wherever the first president of Armenia went until now he was saluted by policemen who showed their respect for him,” says the paper. “In essence, the authorities were irked even by that fact.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that parliament deputies from the governing Republican Party (HHK) have been told by their leaders to minimize their contacts with journalists. The paper says the HHK leadership fears that they could damage Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian’s presidential bid with their interviews with various media outlets. It says the order followed Deputy Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian’s televised remarks on Ter-Petrosian’s return to politics. Sarkisian and his “PR consultants” did not like what Abrahamian said, according to “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.”
In a separate story, “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” claims that the latest surge in prices of key food prices was orchestrated by the Armenian government. “The calculation is very simple: Serzh Sarkisian is going to need money in the elections, lost of money,” says the paper. “But price hikes one month before the elections will not be looked upon kindly. That is why it was decided to start the plunder now and make some things a little cheaper one month before the elections.”