(Saturday, August 22)
Lragir.am voices skepticism about the Armenian opposition’s ability to scuttle controversial constitutional changes planned by President Serzh Sarkisian. The online publication claims that up until now opposition actions have only strengthened the ruling regimes in Yerevan and that there are no indications that things will be different this time around.
“Aravot” is at a loss to understand the real motives behind Sarkisian’s constitutional reform drive. “No matter how much opposition politicians claim that Serzh Sarkisian is trying to ensure his and his regime’s reproduction, representatives of the ruling [HHK] party appear to be more frank in this case. They say that they can cling to power even with the existing constitution and government system,” writes the paper. It says that few ordinary Armenians care about the issue. “People have enough of their own problems,” it says.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” comments on a scandal caused by a police officer who hit an elderly protester during Friday’s anti-government demonstration in Yerevan. “The incident can certainly be discussed on a moral plane and speak of the policeman’s complete lack of integrity,” writes the paper. “But this is a legal issue in the first instance. To which legal accountability will this so-called policeman be subjected?” It dismisses an “internal inquiry” into the incident which has been announced by the Armenian police, arguing that such probes have rarely resulted in tough punishments for police officers in the past. “It can even be said that not punishing officers for such hooligan actions is a matter of principle [for the police,]” claims the paper. “If they punish a policeman that could become a lesson for others and the latter will refrain from such behavior. And that is not in tune with the spirit and mission of our police. The main mission of the police is not to combat crime but to break up anti-government demonstrations.”
Interviewed by “Hraparak,” Artur Sakunts, a human rights activist, calls on the Armenian authorities to prosecute those responsible for last week’s severe beating of Arsen Avetisian, the director and majority shareholder of the Air Armenia airline. “Just because Arsen Avetisian has made peace with the organizer and perpetrators of his beating does not mean that there was no beating,” Sakunts tells the paper.