“Aravot” is unimpressed by the prosecutors’ decision to put on trial two men for assaulting journalists covering the April 5 opposition rally in Yerevan. The paper says the prosecutors have not explained why the two unemployed suspects decided to throw eggs at protests and smash journalists’ cameras in the first place. It stresses that the authorities must primarily identify those who ordered them to stir up trouble.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” accuses the authorities of trying to cover up what happened on April 5 by bringing to book only two suspected participants of the violence.
In a separate commentary, “Haykakan Zhamanak” writes that “serious dialogue” between the Armenian government and the opposition is impossible. “In effect, the coalition is offering the opposition one thing: to return to parliament, get down to legislative business and wait for the presidential elections of 2008,” the paper says. It adds that Wednesday’s opposition rally in Vanadzor was “effectively disrupted” by heavy rain and “obstacles created by the local authorities.” “Although the local authorities did everything to create such a situation it is evident that the opposition must take new steps to give the campaign of demonstrations a new impetus.”
“Armenia must be a democratic country, not a semi-feudal one as is the case now,” the leader of the Artarutyun bloc, Stepan Demirchian, tells “Golos Armenii.” “Yes, we are ready for dialogue. But it is immoral when negotiations turn into bargaining over the release of illegally arrested individuals. Constitutional provisions must be respected and Council of Europe demands must be met immediately. They are not a subject of mutual concessions.”
“Hayastani Hanrapetutyun” says maverick oppositionist Aram Karapetian has refused to join the opposition campaign because he “doesn’t understand what the fuss is all about.” The paper quotes Karapetian as saying that he is “totally against” bringing up the issue of a referendum of confidence in President Robert Kocharian at the Council of Europe. He says that gives the Council of Europe additional levers to press for changes in Armenian laws which “do not always coincide with our national goals.”
Prime Minister Andranik Markarian comments in “Hayots Ashkhar” on his visit this week to Ukraine. “The most important thing is that our countries wish to integrate themselves into the European family,” he says. “But one should take into account those peculiar features that exist in our countries. I mean that other countries’ rules of the game must not be imposed on us, even if they are accepted worldwide.”