(Saturday, August 2)
“Haykakan Zhamanak” believes that Friday’s opposition rally in Yerevan was a success, saying that Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Popular Movement has “gained new momentum” and “can’t be stopped anymore.”
“Despite the summer heat, the season of vacations and the absence of many people from the country and the capital, the rally was not only a success but didn’t differ from the previous ones in terms of the number of participants,” writes “Hraparak.” “Some think that the rally was even bigger than the last one. And that means the movement has not fizzled out. People are waiting for and enthusiastically taking part in the rallies held once in a month.”
“The climax of political struggle will certainly be in September,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “The regime is unable to counter this. There is only thing the opposition should do: to keep the spirit of the struggle alive for another month and to prove that the wounds of March 1 are not healing and the determination to punish the criminal is not time sensitive. There are crimes to which the statutes of limitations do not apply.”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” notes that hot weather did force the Ter-Petrosian-led opposition to delay its “decisive” actions until September. In the meantime, says the paper, dozens of opposition activists will continue their grueling non-stop sit-in in Yerevan’s Northern Avenue.
“Aravot” maintains that Ter-Petrosian and his Armenian National Congress (HAK) is the country’s main opposition force. “Today citizens unhappy with their lives trust the HAK, which was declared [established] at yesterday’s rally and unites 16 opposition parties,” editorializes the paper. “Time will tell how effective this structure is and whether its creation was worth it. But at this moment it is a serious political factor.”
Armen Ashotian, a parliament deputy from the governing Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), tells “Hayots Ashkhar” that the discourse of Ter-Petrosian and other opposition is shallow and short on specifics. “They have not lived up to the expectations of a the emergence of new powerful liberal opposition force,” says Ashotian. He also stresses the fact that the Zharangutyun party of Raffi Hovannisian has declined to join the HAK.
Interviewed by “Zhamanak Yerevan,” one of Ashotian’s jailed opposition colleagues, Sasun Mikaelian, says that the government crackdown on the opposition has not worked. “The people have not been broken up after the slaughter of March 1-2,” he says. “The people have not been broken up after all the political persecutions and arrests.” Mikaelian also looks forward to the HAK’s activities, saying that the opposition alliance will give birth to a “new government.”
“The opposition has failed to prove that it is even slightly better than the authority,” writes “Golos Armenii.” “Quite the opposite. The opposition accuses the authority of not respecting law but it itself displays no such respect when organizing unsanctioned mass gatherings.” The pro-government paper also condemns the opposition for its boycott of the parliamentary investigation into the March 1 unrest.