Levon Zurabian, the HAK’s central office coordinator, told RFE/RL that the rally will celebrate the release of opposition members imprisoned after the February 2008 presidential election. “They’ve freed our best and strongest guys,” he said. “The movement will only get stronger as a result.”
Addressing thousands of supporters in Yerevan on June 12, Ter-Petrosian announced that his opposition movement plans to hold its next demonstration on September 18. Still, he said the HAK might hold “interim” rallies in the summer “if need be.”
In Zurabian’s words, the opposition movement cobbled together by Ter-Petrosian in late 2007 will now continue its activities with “renewed vigor.” “We need to restructure the whole movement now because new powerful [human] resources have joined the movement,” he said. “It was no accident that these people were arrested after March 1.”
“They were arrested just because … they were the best organizers of the movement, the most influential persons. So naturally, the movement has been a bit disabled during all this time,” added Zurabian. He would not say whether the July 2 rally will mark the start of a new opposition campaign of sustained street protests.
Armenia -- Opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian addresses supporters on June 12, 2009.
In his June 12 speech, Ter-Petrosian stood by his earlier statement that the HAK will not seek to stage an anti-government “revolution” or “uprising” and favors only “constitutional” methods of political struggle. “Those who think otherwise must be kind enough to demonstrate their own determination and try to lead the people down their preferred path,” he said in a jibe at more radical opposition elements. “We have nowhere no rush because time works in our favor,” added Ter-Petrosian.
The HAK leader also put forward a 12-point “platform” for the consolidation of all political groups opposed to President Serzh Sarkisian. It calls for Sarkisian’s “immediate” resignation and the conduct of fresh presidential and parliamentary elections.
The opposition Zharangutyun (Heritage) party on Tuesday officially welcomed the proposed cooperation framework. In a written statement, the party also reiterated its leader Raffi Hovannisian’s calls for Zharangutyun, the HAK and the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) to start “a series of consultations” on their possible joint actions.
Dashnaktsutyun leaders have so far been reluctant to engage in any cooperation with the Ter-Petrosian-led alliance.