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Press Review


“Azg” agrees with those who think that the recent mass arrests of Armenian opposition members were politically motivated. The paper says even those oppositionists who had weapons and ammunition confiscated from their homes can be considered political prisoners. “That possession of weapons and ammunition is a crime punishable by law is understandable,” it says. “But also understandable is the fact that, as a rule, weapons and ammunition left over from the heroic Artsakh war could be found in the homes of former freedom fighters. So the authorities could have always arrested them when they were not engaged in politics. However, the issue came up when some of the freedom fighters supported Levon Ter-Petrosian during the [2008] election period.”

“Hayots Ashkhar” says that by dragging their feet over compliance with some of the demands voiced by the Council of Europe the Armenian authorities have thrown a “lifeline” to opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian. “We think the [Ter-Petrosian-led] Popular Movement has exhausted itself and the [Council of Europe] resolution is the last opportunity for Levon Ter-Petrosian to not stabilize the political situation in the country but to save the authority of his declining movement. Ter-Petrosian not only wants Armenia to be stripped of its voting rights at the June session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly but to raise the question of our country’s membership in that structure. But does the overwhelming majority of Armenia’s citizen want that? This is what European structures should also think about.”

Aram Manukian, a leader of the opposition Armenian Pan-National Movement (HHSh) speaks of a rapidly growing “spirit of freedom, trust in Levon Ter-Petrosian, hatred of the authorities” as recalls, in an interview with “Hayk,” Ter-Petrosian’s post-election demonstrations in Yerevan’s Liberty Square. Manukian notes the presence of many young people in those rallies. “Liberty Square was growing like a snowball and becoming a gathering site of all free people,” he says. Manukian says the movement reached its climax on February 26 when thousands of people forced to attend Serzh Sarkisian’s rally elsewhere in central Yerevan flocked to Liberty Square.

“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” rebukes the opposition for its lack of interest in local elections held in Yerevan and other parts of the country. The government-funded paper complains that the opposition prefers to engage in “mainly illegal demonstrations, demonstrative hunger strikes, provocations aimed at riots and so on.”

(Armen Dulian)
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