Armenia’s main opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) held simultaneous protests in capital Yerevan and three provinces on Friday demanding the release of its members currently imprisoned for their roles in the 2008 post-election unrest.
The protests in all four locations, including the towns of Aparan, Martuni and Masis, proceeded peacefully.
In Yerevan oppositionists gathered in front of the Prosecutor-General’s Office demanding the “release political prisoners.”
Former deputy parliament speaker Karapet Rubinian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that the recent releases of opposition figures and the open letter written by a number of Armenian scholars in support of prominent opposition member Nikol Pashinian’s release “show that all jailed oppositionists will be set free soon.”
Talking to RFE/RL’s Armenian Service, HAK representative Vladimir Karapetian said the opposition alliance “will fight until all political prisoners are released.”
“It seems that the boundaries of this government’s stubbornness can already be seen and they can not continue to keep the political prisoners in jail. I hope that in the near future all of our friends will be free,” said Karapetian.
In his recent public statements HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian also voiced his conviction that all jailed opposition members would be released soon, implying growing international pressure on the current administration.
In Masis, located some 15 kilometers to the south of capital Yerevan, senior HAK member Levon Zurabian addressed those who had gathered in the town’s central square, accusing the authorities of “creating an atmosphere of terror and depriving people who have political views of their livelihood.”
Another senior HAK representative David Shahnazarian addressed supporters in Martuni, a town in Armenia’s eastern Gegharkunik province.
“This government will not fall slowly. Like all tyrannies it will collapse at once, within a matter of hours, and this moment is near,” Shahnazarian claimed.
In Aparan, which is in the central Aragatsotn province of the country, the former chief military prosecutor Gagik Jahangirian told supporters that the opposition is “preparing for a snap presidential election.”