“Hayots Ashkhar” defends the use of force against opposition demonstrators. “What should have any government respecting itself and its country done? The answer is obvious: it should have done what it did within the framework of its powers set by the constitution and the laws.” The paper argues that the opposition was pressurizing the authorities into holding a referendum of confidence in President Robert Kocharian.
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” also lays the blame on the opposition. The paper says only a few thousand Armenians hold the authorities responsible for their hardships and are ready to take to the streets.
But “Aravot” writes that the authorities have finally discredited themselves and few people believe in their version of events. The paper emphasizes the police beat up not only peaceful demonstrators but also journalists covering the protest. “And this testifies to only one thing: the authorities are now lying to and deceiving the people, trying to hide the truth. Otherwise they would have let the journalists work so that they could provide people with truthful information on time and present the real picture.” An “Aravot” correspondent who witnessed the brutal dispersal of the opposition rally separately expresses shock at the police claims that the demonstrators themselves attacked security forces.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” carries on all of its pages the picture of deputy police chief Hovannes Varian who is said to have ordered the beating of its two reporters. The paper also says more than 2,500 security officers took part in the “massacre.” “According to informed sources, among the attackers were the bodyguards of police oligarchs and individuals speaking in the Karabakh dialect.”
“Yerevan yesterday resembled a besieged fortress,” “Haykakan Zhamanak” continues. “It seemed to be business as usual on the streets. But the atmosphere was tense. In cafes and buses people had one topic of conversation: the overnight events, the ensued violence. The main question asked was what continuation all of this will have.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” also discloses details of Tuesday’s meeting between Kocharian and the leaders of the three coalition parties, the pro-establishment MAK party and the People’s Deputy parliamentary group. It says representatives of the Republican and Dashnaktsutyun parties “stoically” keep silent throughout the meeting. “Orinats Yerkir leader Artur Baghdasarian tried to talk about democratic values, MAK chairman Gurgen Arsenian spoke but about a totally different topic, while the People’s Deputy leader Karen Karapetian found worrisome actions taken against [opposition] deputies and again called for a dialogue between the parties.” As for Kocharian, he is said to have “reaffirmed his resolve to go to the end.”
“Aravot” similarly reports that none of the participants sought any explanation from Kocharian about the heavy-handed police actions. The paper says Arsenian, for example, heaped praise on Kocharian, asking him to thank the security forces.