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Press Review


“Chorrord Ishkhanutyun” is sure that the Armenian authorities will not meet the demands of the armed oppositionists that seized a police station in Yerevan on Sunday. “Of course, Serzh Sarkisian will not step down or set free political prisoners,” writes the paper. “But the authorities can learn some lessons from all this and get their act together, can’t they?” In particular, it says, Sarkisian could make a televised address to the nation and admit that his administration is also to blame for that “terror attack.” The authorities will grapple with more such upheavals in the future if they don’t change their questionable policies and practices, concludes “Haykakan Zhamanak.”

“Armenia is in a virtual state of emergency for a third consecutive day,” writes “Zhoghovurd.” The paper expects the hostage crisis to have a “substantial impact” on the situation in Armenia. “However, Armenia’s leadership -- President Serzh Sarkisian, National Assembly speaker Galust Sahakian, and Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian -- remain silent,” it says. “The authorities are trying to present the situation as an ordinary criminal affair, ignoring tension existing among many people.” The paper says that the authorities’ silence is only aggravating the crisis.

“Hraparak” believes, however, that so far the authorities have not committed “serious blunders” in their handling of the crisis. “During negotiations [held with the hostage takers] the authorities have displayed a generally tolerant attitude,” writes the paper. The same cannot be said of the mainstream Armenian opposition forces, it says. With a few exceptions, they “seem to have gone underground” since the armed attack in Yerevan’s Erebuni district. The opposition should reach out to disgruntled Armenians even if the seizure of the Erebuni police station amounted to a serious criminal offense, concludes the paper.

For its part, “Haykakan Zhamanak” criticizes the Armenian police for mass detentions and, in some cases, ill-treatment of people that have taken to the streets in in recent days in support of the gunmen affiliated with the Founding Parliament movement. The paper claims that police officers dealing with protesters are becoming increasingly “brutal.”

(Tigran Avetisian)

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