“Haykakan Zhamanak” brands as “bandits” Armenian police officers preventing opposition supporters from entering Yerevan’s Liberty Square. “This is a blatant violation of Armenia’s constitution, and senior police officials are definitely aware of this,” comments the pro-opposition daily. “The police may resort to such actions only if they have a sense of absolute impunity or see very big dangers emanating from this situation.” The paper says the police actions disprove claims that the Armenian authorities feel very confident and see no real threats to their power.
“Hraparak” finds “very symbolic” the fact that renewed violence against opposition activists began on Armenia’s Republic Day marked on May 28. “How can the ideas of independence and statehood, human rights and citizens’ will to live and express themselves freely be respected in a country where the elementary constitutional right to hold protests and demonstrations is not respected?” editorializes the paper.
“Zhamanak” says the latest upsurge in tensions between Turkey and Israel “directly touches upon Armenia’s interests” and will have implications for the entire South Caucasus as well. The paper says this situation should be an additional incentive for the Armenian authorities to ease domestic political tensions and reach out to the opposition, something which would reduce “the extent of the country’s vulnerability” to external challenges. Instead, it says, the authorities are “further intensifying their war against their citizens.”
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar,” Levon Mkrtchian, a leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), comments on President Serzh Sarkisian’s remark that NATO must not “step aside” if Azerbaijan delivers on its threats to restart the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. “The NATO charter does not allow [the alliance] to become directly involved in military conflicts … But as a powerful political-military organization, NATO can definitely influence those countries that are involved in the process of resolving the Artsakh conflict,” says Mkrtchian. “Turkey’s constant efforts to play a role in the Karabakh issue and link it with Turkish-Armenian relations require the Armenian side to make certain adjustments in that direction. I think the president’s statement should be viewed in this context.”