By Anush Martirosian
Armenia’s Administrative Court on Wednesday allowed the opposition to hold its next rally in downtown Yerevan on October 17 but said its participants can not march through the city center afterwards.
The main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) and its top leader, Levon Ter-Petrosian, intend to again rally supporters on Northern Avenue to announce a new plan of actions against the government. The Yerevan mayor’s office banned the protest October 2, citing continuing construction along the newly built boulevard and alleged complaints from local residents and shop owners. The opposition Hanrapetutyun party, an HAK member that applied to the municipality for a permission, challenged the decision in the Administrative Court.
While declaring the ban “null and void,” the court ruled that the opposition alliance must be allowed to hold the rally outside the Matenadaran Institute of Ancient Manuscripts, the main venue for opposition protests staged in recent months.
A legal representative of the municipality suggested the venue as the court began hearings on Hanrapetutyun’s appeal late on Tuesday. “The holding of the rally in the area adjacent to the Matenadaran is possible,” he said.
In what has become a pattern, the municipality had earlier only offered the opposition to hold the rally outside central Yerevan. Opposition leaders rejected the offer.
Artak Zeynalian, who represented Hanrapetutyun in the court, was far from happy with the supposedly compromise solution proposed by Judge Artsruni Babayan. “This is the most absurd verdict I have ever come across,” Zeynalian told RFE/RL.