Asked by “Haykakan Zhamanak” to comment on the police involvement in Sunday’s troubled opposition rally in Gyumri, the chief of the police department in the Shirak region, Khachik Asatrian says: “I personally led that operation and it was successful. And if anyone tries to organize that kind of meeting in Gyumri and Shirak in general, namely to commit hooliganism, I guarantee that they will get a similar riposte.”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” also lays the blame on the opposition. “Somehow it seems to the oppositionists that only the authorities are obliged to follow democratic rules, while they must only trumpet what a good and necessary thing democracy is,” the paper says. It adds that the women who tried to impede the Artarutyun had a right to express themselves “even if they were prostitutes.”
“Aravot” editorializes that the authorities are not sincere in their calls for “tolerance” and “dialogue.” Their message to the opposition, according to the paper, is this: “You tolerate us, while we won’t let you make noise.” The authorities have yet to prove their political tolerance with concrete deeds. The tough anti-opposition propaganda spread by state television only increases the number of people willing to take to the streets, the paper says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” says the two rival camps have exhausted all possibilities of dialogue and are now ready to “kill each other.” “The government-opposition battle can be considered to have gotten underway” with either side sounding determined to “go to the end completely destroy the opponent.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” attacks the three coalition parties for offering the opposition a “dialogue.” “What compromise can exist between the government and the opposition when the latter does not recognize the former’s legitimacy and demands its immediate departure from the political arena?” Any compromise deal with the opposition would amount to a political “bribe” going against the interests of the majority of Armenians. “Such compromises in fact serve as mere smokescreens for a smooth, gradual or creeping regime change,” the pro-establishment daily warns. The only path to “reconciliation” is for the opposition to strictly adhere to the law and renounce “violence.”
“Azg” reports that that in sharp contrast with Armenia the political situation in Nagorno-Karabakh is “calm and peaceful.” One of its correspondents who has spent three days traveling around Karabakh and interviewing its residents says: “It turns out that for them it doesn’t matter who is president and who is opposition [in Armenia]. Ordinary people of Artsakh want a stable Armenia because, as they say, the sole guarantor of Karabakh’ security is a stable and strong Armenia, rather than President Robert Kocharian or [opposition leader] Victor Dallakian who is ready to smash the backbone of the Karabakh clan.”