Tuesday’s clashes in Yerevan between riot police and anti-government protesters are the central theme of Armenian press commentary.
“Public reaction to what happened varies,” writes “Zhamanak.” “Many regard the actions of Shant Harutiunian (the opposition activist who led the protesters) as uncalculated and reckless. But many others think that Harutiunian took an audacious step and sacrificed himself in order to wake up the society.”
“What happened yesterday on Mashtots Avenue was unexpected to many people,” writes “Zhoghovurd.” “Of course, the severe socioeconomic situation in the country could have eventually led to such an upheaval or spontaneous outburst, but not in that form and not under the leadership of the man who tried to occupy the presidential palace with a group of supporters wielding truncheons.”
“Carrying out a coup d’état with such an arsenal and such troops is certainly a fantasy,” says “Hraparak.” “But the ‘revolutionaries’ did succeed in waking up people, getting them out on the street and making everybody speak about them.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” reports that two controversial “oligarchs” close to President Serzh Sarkisian, Ruben Hayrapetian and Samvel Aleksanian, were spotted near the site of the clashes late on Tuesday, shortly after the violence. The paper says its correspondent asked Aleksanian whether his bodyguards also took part in the clashes. “I have no bodyguards, I only have one driver,” replied the man widely known as Lfik Samo. Aleksanian, who was accompanied by several well-built men, insisted that he and Hayrapetian simply chatted at a nearby café and “know nothing” about the incident. The paper critical of the government recalls that both tycoons had faced opposition allegations of involvement in the 2008 deadly post-election unrest in Yerevan.