Armenians Protest Near Presidential Palace
By AVET DEMOURIAN
Associated Press Writer
April 13, 2004, 9:15 PM EDT
YEREVAN, Armenia — Police broke up a protest of some 2,000 people outside
Armenia’s presidential palace on Tuesday, the latest in a series of
demonstrations over last year’s presidential election.
Opposition leaders vowed to keep up their public protests against President
Robert Kocharian, whose re-election a year ago spurred opposition charges of
widespread ballot violations.
“The fight against the unlawful regime will be kept up,” said an opposition
leader, Vazgen Manoukian.
Organizers said several demonstrators were injured, but their condition was
In Washington, the State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said the
United States is concerned about the sharp escalation in the confrontation
between the government and the opposition.
“We call on both sides to enter into a dialogue that will lessen tension and
focus the political process on the challenges of continued political and
economic reform,” Boucher said.
He said physical assaults, raids on political party offices and widespread
arrests and detentions of opposition activists by the police “do not
contribute to creating an atmosphere conducive to political dialogue.”
Kocharian considers the protests “an act of political extremism,” according
to his spokesman Ashot Kocharian.
Last April, Armenia’s Constitutional Court confirmed the results of the
presidential vote but suggested that a referendum be held within a year to
gauge the public’s confidence.
Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress