By Armen Zakarian
The Armenian opposition may take acts of “civil disobedience” if its impeachment campaign against President Robert Kocharian fails in the parliament, a leading opposition member said on Thursday. The apparent warning to lawmakers, most of whom are loyal to Kocharian, was issued by Albert Bazeyan, the chairman of the opposition Hanrapetutyun party.
Hanrapetutyun last month joined forces with two other opposition groups, the People’s Party of Armenia (HZhK) and National Unity party, to campaign against the current authorities. The trio has begun collecting signatures in the parliament in support of impeachment proceedings against Kocharian. But only eight deputies of the 131-member assembly have joined the initiative as yet.
“If the process does not succeed in the National Assembly, I don’t rule out actions of civil disobedience,” Bazeyan told opposition supporters in the Armenian town of Martuni. The gathering was organized by Hanrapetutyun and the HZhK. He did not specify what concrete steps the opposition could take, however.
The leaders of the two parties urged the local population to pressurize its deputies into backing the opposition cause.
HZhK leader Stepan Demirchian accused Kocharian of creating a “vicious atmosphere” in Armenia, pointing to a recent murder of an ethnic Armenian citizen from Georgia, allegedly committed by presidential bodyguards. The 43-year-old man, Poghos Poghosian, was found dead in the toilet of a popular Yerevan café shortly after Kocharian left its premises.
“People get beaten up and killed in cafes and nobody raises his voice,” Demirchian said, apparently referring to press reports that many witnesses of the incident are scared of testifying against Kocharian’s security service.
Several of the bodyguards have been suspended from duty pending an investigation, but none of them has been formally charged yet.