“Zhoghovurd” is critical of the demands of several hundred people in Armenia’s Tavush province who clashed with riot police this week during a violent protest against a government ban on logging in the area. The paper also speaks out against the closure of major Armenian roads by these and other demonstrators, saying that this can no longer be considered a legitimate form of protest after the 2019 “Velvet Revolution.” It says that in the “new Armenia” people do not have to block roads in order to be heard by the authorities.
“Zhamanak” says the fact that Artur Vanetsian, the director of the National Security Service (NSS), visited Tavush after the violent unrest underlines the seriousness of the situation. The paper seems to take seriously suggestions that the violence in the provincial capital Ijevan was a provocation directed at the current authorities or even an act of “sabotage” organized by foreign forces. It also rebukes members and supporters of Armenia’s former leadership who blamed the current authorities for the incident. It speculates that Vanetsian’s visit may have also been a “response” to them.
“The clashes between police and demonstrators in Ijevan have greatly buoyed opposition circles,” writes “Haykakan Zhamanak.” “They do not make secret of their joy, rubbing their hands with pleasure and saying that this is only a taste of things to come and that ‘the people’ will be holding more serious demonstrations against the authorities soon.” The pro-government paper notes that similar protests have also erupted in other parts of the country of late, notably in the area around Lake Sevan where some people are unhappy with government efforts to end illegal fishing. “The authorities do not give in and maintain that long-running corruption schemes and relentless destruction of forests have no place in the new Armenia. These are the most vivid examples of a clash between the old and new mentalities,” it says, adding that illegal logging and fishing has benefited only 10-15 wealthy families who are now organizing protests to keep making huge profits.