“Azg” deplores instances of politically motivated violence in the run-up to the municipal elections in Yerevan, saying that well-built and aggressive men have become a fixture at opposition campaign rallies. The paper says this only shows that the polls are not quite “political.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” regards the attacks on opposition activists distributing leaflets and booklets as the most important of election-related actions taken by the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK) and its allies. The opposition notes that none of the attackers has been punished by the authorities even though photographs of some of them have been published in the press. “On the contrary, it’s victims that are dragged from one police station to another,” it says. “This is the main message which the authorities are sending to the public.”
“Yerkir” also decries the “atmosphere of impunity” reigning in the Armenian capital. The paper says that law-enforcement authorities are “powerless” against pro-government thugs and that it is incumbent on President Serzh Sarkisian to rein them in. “The situation has become so extreme that only his personal intervention can stop the scum before they get to a point where they would wonder how the president dares to rein them in,” it says.
“I think that after this latest statement by [Turkish Prime Minister] Erdogan even the biggest optimists don’t doubt that Turkey has heavily exploited and used to its benefit the goodwill displayed by Armenia in June last year,” former Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian tells “Kapital.” “Turkey has still not opened the border but it has already won many dividends: a weakening of the Armenian positions in the process of international recognition of the genocide and a key role in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.”
“If we believe in the official theory of the events of March 1 [2008,] the opposition organized mass riots in Yerevan, there was a clash with police, cars were burned, shops were plundered and the situation began getting out of hand,” writes “Chorrord Ishkhanutyun.” “In a word, at stake was the security of the stake.” It is therefore amazing, says the paper, that the Armenian authorities are denying the existence of a special presidential task force that coordinated the use of force against opposition protesters. “They deny that because that task force did not discuss the issue of restoring law and order in Yerevan,” it claims. “It apparently discussed totally different matters: how to smash the people and retain power.”