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Armenian Opposition Urges Bigger Rally Attendance


Armenia - Levon Zurabian, a leading member of the opposition Armenian National Congress, at a news conference, 26Aug2011.

Armenia - Levon Zurabian, a leading member of the opposition Armenian National Congress, at a news conference, 26Aug2011.

Armenia’s main opposition alliance has urged its supporters to turn out in larger numbers at its rally due later this week “to participate directly in the elaboration and adoption of a program of establishment democracy”.

“The September 30 rally must prove a turning point in terms of rally attendance,” Levon Zurabian, a senior member of the Armenian National Congress (HAK), told media on Tuesday.

Addressing several thousand people demonstrating in Liberty Square last Friday, HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian underlined the modest attendance of HAK rallies in recent months. He urged opposition supporters to turn out at the next protest in much larger numbers.

“That will be a test for you. Each of you must bring with you at least five persons to the next rally. If you do that, you will achieve all of your goals,” Ter-Petrosian said.

While voicing the HAK’s readiness to strike a compromise deal with the authorities, Ter-Petrosian still said that his bloc would seek to ratchet up pressure on the government “by means of more frequent and larger rallies and other mass protests.”

At a press conference Zurabian reminded that the authorities made a number of concessions to the opposition under the pressure of “powerful rallies” staged by the HAK in spring.

Drawing parallels with the recent Arab revolutions in such countries as Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, the senior opposition member said: “When people get to their feet, it is for the authorities to decide which variant they choose, whether it is a civilized democratic transition or… I don’t think that our authorities prefer bloodshed or a civil war.”

Commenting on the HAK’s declared intention to step up its pressure on the government by means of holding more frequent and larger rallies, spokesperson for the ruling Republican Party of Armenia Eduard Sharmazanov on Monday warned: “Let everyone forget that clashes are possible in Armenia. No one can lead the society into political clashes.”
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