(Saturday, March 12)
For “Haykakan Zhamanak,” President Serzh Sarkisian’s Friday meeting with top state officials demonstrated that the Armenian authorities are “in panic” ahead of the next opposition rallies in Yerevan. “The content of Serzh Sarkisian’s extensive speech at the meeting resembled the speeches of some Arab rulers,” claims the opposition daily. “Feeling that the flames of the Egyptian revolution are reaching their countries, those sheikhs are breathlessly giving some hasty promises to the people.”
“Hayots Ashkhar” says “only an idiot” could think that the arrest and prosecution of opposition deputy Zaruhi Postanjian’s brother Tigran is part of a government campaign of intimidation against the opposition Zharangutyun party. The pro-government paper accuses Postanjian and other Zharangutyun parliamentarians of waging a “fierce and uncompromising struggle” against police officers maintaining public order and stepped up its “insults” directed the country’s leadership.
“Aravot” dismisses police statements defending the use of force against several Zharangutyun deputies who demonstrated outside the government building in Yerevan on March 3. The paper says police chief Alik Sargsian and other officials sound like “political figures or commentators.” “If they like that job, then it’s their right, let them defend the authorities against the opposition or counterrevolutionaries against revolutionaries,” editorializes the paper. “But in that case, they must resign from their service, including sponsorship of various businesses, and become ordinary citizens. And yet they constantly speak about political topics in their current, police capacity.”
“Hraparak” carries an interview with the chief of the Armenian military police, Aram Ter-Sahakian. He is asked to comment on military prosecutors’ decision not to press charges against an army commander accused of extortion. (The decision was taken on the grounds that he “repented” his alleged crimes.) “For ethical considerations, I don’t want to comment on the decision made by the prosecutor’s office,” says Ter-Sahakian. “In any case, the case received a legal solution. [The officer] does not serve in the military. The material damage inflicted by him has been fully recovered.” Ter-Sahakian refuses to speculate whether other military personnel accused of various crimes will also be able to avoid imprisonment in a similar fashion.