Armenian Women Protest Against President’s “Dictatorial Regime”


March 8, 2004


Women supporting the opposition are holding a rally in Yerevan
today. It has been organized by the Justice bloc under the slogan
Women Against Lawlessness. According to Ruzanna Khachatryan,
spokeswoman for the People’s Party which is part of the Justice bloc,
the rally is open not only to women “sympathizing with the
opposition”, but also “to those who are not indifferent to what is
going on in the country”.

She said the authorities were doing nothing to alleviate tension in
society in the aftermath of the 2003 presidential elections which were
marred with massive fraud. The present social and economic plight is
also a heavy burden for women, therefore they are saying their word on
8 March, Khachatryan said.

Despite the cold weather and piercing wind, more than 1,000 women have
joined the rally. The welcoming address was made by Greta Sarkisyan,
the mother of the former Armenian prime minister, Vazgen Sarkisyan,
who was killed in the shooting in the Armenian parliament (27 October
1999). She called on Armenian women to carry on fighting against
President Robert Kocharyan’s dictatorial regime and for the
restoration of democracy in the country.

After the rally, those taking part in it intend to march to the
Armenian president’s residency.

It is worthy of note that there is a large number of policemen around
the square outside the institute of ancient manuscripts where the
rally is taking place.