A newly established opposition movement plans to hold its first rally in the Armenian capital over the weekend.
During its March 10 gathering in Yerevan’s Liberty Square the Front for the State of Armenia, as its member Armen Martirosian announced, will promote its general goal of “implementing drastic reforms and reestablishing sovereignty in Armenia.”
According to Martirosian, who is the newly elected chairman of the extra-parliamentary opposition Zharangutiun (Heritage) party, other political parties and groups can see their movement as an “initial, interim platform where they can carry out joint actions.”
As for the specific goal of the Saturday rally, Martirosian said: “We ought to deliver our word, present our vision, how we see Armenia’s future after the change of government, what change in the system of governance we want to have. We will say that tomorrow.”
At the same time, the Zharangutiun party leader emphasized that the emerging movement “cannot move mountains with its very first rally.”
“Time and the activity of our citizens will show whether we will move mountains or not. If our citizens want change, they must engage in struggle. It is not that we are going to wage that struggle and they will enjoy the results. It won’t be so,” Martirosian concluded.
As a movement the Front for the State of Armenia was formed after the appeal of jailed radical opposition leader Zhirayr Sefilian. In conjunction with a Diaspora civil movement, Armenian Renaissance, it plans to organize rallies also in Armenian communities abroad.
It is not clear whether any of the Armenian opposition parties will join the rallies of the Front. At least one of such parties, Yerkir Tsirani, which is now represented by a small faction in Yerevan’s City Council, has sought a nationwide “uprising” to achieve a regime change. Incidentally, Yerkir Tsirani is led by Zaruhi Postanjian, a former member of Zharangutiun, who quit the party founded by U.S.-born former Armenian foreign minister and presidential candidate Raffi Hovannisian over tactical differences ahead of last year’s parliamentary elections.
Another major opposition figure who has considered holding protests in Liberty Square in the time to come is lawmaker Nikol Pashinian. The outspoken government critic believes the parliamentary Yelk alliance of which he is a senior member should stage street protests to oppose President Serzh Sarkisian’s perceived intention to stay in power after the end of his second and final term in April.