(Saturday, June 21)
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” calls the rally held by opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian on Friday “unprecedented.” “For four consecutive months, the regime literally terrorized the people,” says the paper. “As a result of that terror, we had got casualties, 200 wounded people and hundreds of detainees. For four consecutive months, the regime also used a psychological weapon. Various rednecks were declaring on TV that Levon Ter-Petrosian’s supporters are either traitors or drug addicts. They were trying to prove that the fight for freedom is the result of a hypnosis, that hatred of Serzh Sarkisian is a transient phenomenon and so on. But yesterday’s rally showed that regime has wasted the past four months on stupidities.”
“Azg” says that Ter-Petrosian’s speech at the rally was less “aggressive” than his previous public declarations. “It is hard to tell at this point what Ter-Petrosian’s relatively restrained behavior signified,” says the paper. “A lack of a clear plan of further struggle, a refusal to make concessions at once, or a cruise towards his aim with prolonged steps?”
“Hraparak” believes that neither the government camp nor the Ter-Petrosian-led opposition has a clear plan of further actions at the moment. “The authority does not know what it should do,” says the paper. “Should it allow rallies or not? What attitude should it take towards those who hold rallies? Should it resort to renewed repressions or just wait and watch the course of events? How should it ease public tension? The opposition, for its part, has demonstrated that its supreme goal [at this juncture] was to hold a rally and that its only action plan was to occupy the Liberty or Matenadaran square … One gets the impression that if the authorities stop the repressions and allow a full exercise of all democratic liberties in our country, the opposition will have nothing to do and [Ter-Petrosian’s] popular movement will quickly die out.”
“With its level of organization the rally once again showed just how unjustified the events of March 1 were,” writes “168 Zham.” The paper says any rally can turn violent if either its organizers or authorities wish so. “On March 1 such a desire was displayed by Robert Kocharian,” it claims. “The upcoming rallies will show whether or not Serzh Sarkisian was in favor of that.”
“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” reports that a children’s festivity in Liberty Square, which the Yerevan authorities planned for Friday and cited as the reason for their refusal to let the opposition hold its rally there, never took place. “Liberty Square was yesterday surrounded by a thick cordon of police armed with rubber truncheons and special devices,” says the paper.