Reaction to Tuesday Violence: Condemnation from RPA; opposition says sign of desperation

Reaction to Tuesday Violence: Condemnation from RPA; opposition says sign of desperation


The ruling Republican Party of Armenia condemns nationalist Tseghakron party leader Shant Harutyunyan’s and his supporters’ actions which led to unrest and clashes Tuesday in Yerevan and detention of 38 people. (Tseghakron is an early-20th century theory of a “religion-nation”.)

Republican party vice-chair and spokesman Eduard Sharmazanov, refraining from voicing political evaluation of the incident, says “In democratic countries any activities that violate the law are unacceptable, and perpetrators have to be punished as provided by the law.”

“RPA condemns any violation of the law. If the police decided to detain some people, it means they broke the law and have to be held liable,” says Sharmazanov, stressing that judging by the video posted on the internet the police actions were appropriate and within the law.

The police stated that 20 people are in custody as a result of the unrest on Mashtots Avenue, among them initiator of the “Million Mask March” Shant Harutyunyan, a 48-year-old leader of the obscure nationalist Tseghakron party. The other detainees were released later the same day, registered in the case as witnesses.

Harutyunyan began a sitting strike in Liberty Square late last week with a poster that said “I’m Starting A Revolution”. What was initially announced as a peaceful march to call for peace, justice, democracy, transparency and freedom turned violent as demonstrators put to use firecrackers and hand-made explosives and sticks to confront the security forces. Harutyunyan had declared before the march that his target was the presidential residence. Around 200 demonstrators were met by riot police and more than three dozen were detained as a result of the scuffle that ensued.

Oppositional Heritage party vice-chairman Armen Martirosyan says the incident that occurred in downtown Yerevan is indicative of solely one thing – society is greatly unhappy with the authorities and that discontent is slowly yielding extreme results.

“It’s high time they start taking steps to rectify things, which is to give up power and form a truly trustworthy new system of public administration,” says Martirosyan.

Oppositional Armenian National Congress party vice-chirman Levon Zurabyan shares the opinion that the authorities have forced people to such steps.

“This regime has led to such desperate situation that many do not see any way out other than resorting to extreme, even illegal, measures in their attempts to liberate the country from that regime. There is nothing surprising about the fact that there will be people who would consider solving the issue by the rule of law to be impossible and would look for other ways,” says Zurabyan.

Representatives of alternative Prosperous Armenia party refrain from offering any comments on the incident, saying that it needs further analysis.