“Iravunk” believes that the Armenian authorities are wrong to worry about various forms of anti-government protests staged by supporters of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian these days. “It is obvious that all these actions are aimed at keeping the situation ‘hot’ for the outside world,” explains the paper. “They are not turning into large-scale events that would inflict serious damages on the authorities. Crusades against the opposition launched by analytical programs of public television, the prosecutors’ and the justice ministry’s fight against the [human rights] ombudsman … are more serious factors hampering solutions to issues that are high priority for Serzh Sarkisian.”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” berates the Ter-Petrosian camp for announcing that it will hold a rally in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on June 20 even if it is banned by the Yerevan mayor’s office. “They don’t quite care about consequences of the illegal rally,” says the government-funded paper. It scoffs at the opposition’s offer to maintain public order at the rally jointly with police officers. “In essence, they admit that violent incidents at the rally are possible but are still urging people to attend it.”
“A dialogue between the regime and the opposition is not materializing,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “The authorities have taken several opposition leader hostage and are trying imitate dialogue through pressure and promises of various government posts. Naturally, this is a meaningless exercise. So the regime has one option: to come clean before the people. For example, to try to explain who and why shot at the people [on March 1,] to publicly punish several of the shooters and so on. But regime is avoiding even this dialogue.”
“Azg” accuses the opposition of seeking to fan political tensions and further discredit Armenia since March 1. “Is this an enemy country or their country?” asks the paper. It also faults the authorities for continuing their policies and refusing to “concede anything to anyone.” “A government which is unwilling to reform itself is eventually reformed by others, who damage the country and its reputation in the process,” warns “Azg.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that the human rights ombudsman, Armen Harutiunian, has dismissed government criticism of his report on the March 1 events in Yerevan that questioned the use of force against opposition protesters. Interviewed by the paper, Harutiunian refutes prosecutors’ claims that the report is based on information obtained from opposition sources. “The authors of objections [to the report] distorted what we wrote and then began fighting with thoughts invented by themselves, tailoring our text to their criticism,” he adds.