An alliance of radical opposition groups on Monday acknowledged that its nonstop protests aimed at toppling President Serzh Sarkisian have not attracted strong popular support and pledged to reconsider its tactics.
The New Armenia Public Salvation Front launched the “civil disobedience” campaign on December 1, hoping to use the upcoming referendum on Sarkisian’s constitutional changes for achieving regime change in Armenia. Its demonstrations held in Yerevan since then have attracted an average of only several hundred people, however.
The alliance also failed to convince other opposition forces, notably the Armenian National Congress (HAK), to join what one of its leaders, Zhirayr Sefilian, described on December 1 as a “revolution.” The campaign did not gain momentum even after the December 6 referendum which New Armenia and the HAK have condemned as fraudulent.
“If we do not manage to generate the necessary mobilization today, it means that there are mistakes and omissions in our tactics,” Sefilian told a news conference in Yerevan’s Liberty Square, the scene of a New Armenia sit-in. “I believe that very soon we will find ways to correct them and find the key to mobilizing our people.”
“Unlike the traditional tactics of our opposition, we will not finish our campaign of rallies with the well-known excuse that ‘we did it but the people didn’t turn out and there is nothing else we can do,’” he said. “We will never put the blame on our people.”
Sefilian added that New Armenia may now suspend the campaign and relaunch it early next year. The alliance will have to come up with a “more concrete plan of actions” in order to become more “comprehensible” to Armenians, he said.