“168 Zham” criticizes the planned doubling of the salaries of Armenia’s most high-ranking officials and parliament deputies. “In a country where a teacher gets 25,000 drams [per month] and a military officer 50,000 drams after retirement, parliament deputies expect to get 600,000 drams,” says the paper. “The guys probably don’t know the amount of the benefits paid to children of deceased war veterans. Otherwise they would be ashamed of their bill.”
“Zhamanak Yerevan” publishes more eyewitness accounts of the March 1 pre-dawn dispersal of Levon Ter-Petrosian’s tent camp in Yerevan’s Liberty Square. “We weren’t doing anything,” one opposition protester is quoted as saying. “After the first president spoke those [police] squads started hitting people. It was a weak force. They looked like they don’t want to hit. Behind them were totally different, physically stronger people. They attacked us with more energy and joy … People began to run away in different directions, but they had nowhere to flee.”
“It is noteworthy that Levon Ter-Petrosian and his comrades, who are still refusing to start a dialogue with the authorities and rejecting offers to send representatives to the [presidential] Public Council, are now expressing readiness to cooperate with the same authorities in order to ensure the normal course of their street struggle,” writes “Hayots Ashkhar.” “It appears that the organizers of the March 1 [unrest] have thereby decided to insure themselves. In case of engineering a, God forbid, second bloodshed, they would be able to officially blame it on the authorities.”
“Aravot” says that like his predecessor Larisa Alaverdian, the human rights Ombudsman Armen Harutiunian has proved to be unexpectedly confrontational in his dealings with the authorities. “Interestingly, before being elected [by the National Assembly] Armen Harutiunian honestly warned deputies, ‘If you think that I will be a puppet, then please vote against me,’” recalls the paper. “The deputies silently carried out the order from above and elected the current ombudsman.” It says Harutiunian has clearly been emboldened by a legal provision that makes it practically impossible for the authorities to oust him.