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First Rally Against Constitutional Changes Scheduled


Armenia -- Activist Arshak Musakhanian speaks to RFE/RL's Armenian service, Yerevan, 17Sep2015.

Armenia -- Activist Arshak Musakhanian speaks to RFE/RL's Armenian service, Yerevan, 17Sep2015.

A coalition of about three dozen opposition parties and civic groups will hold a rally in Gyumri next week to launch its nationwide campaign against controversial constitutional changes put forward by President Serzh Sarkisian.

The No Front scheduled its first rally for September 25 less than a week after holding a founding conference in Yerevan. It comprises two opposition parties represented in the parliament: Levon Ter-Petrosian’s Armenian National Congress (HAK) and Raffi Hovannisian’s Zharangutyun.

Arshak Musakhanian, a No Front coordinator, said on Thursday that the grouping chose Armenia’s second largest city as the starting point of its campaign because Sarkisian made a very poor showing there during the February 2013 presidential election.

“Serzh Sarkisian lost in Gyumri badly,” Musakhanian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “Besides, Gyumri residents have actively participated in Yerevan rallies lately and they deserve to see a political movement in Armenian start from Gyumri.”

Musakhanian said the No Front also plans to hold rallies in Yerevan. It has already notified the Yerevan municipality about those plans, he added.

The young activist spoke as Paruyr Hayrikian, a veteran politician whose National Self-Determination Union party is also aligned in the coalition, held a separate rally in the Armenian capital to warn the authorities against amending the constitution.

Hayrikian described as “evil” the amendments drafted by a presidential commission. “They are plotting a conspiracy against our people,” he told a small crowd that gathered in Yerevan’s Liberty Square.

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