Armenian Opposition Rallies, Halts Talks

The Moscow Times
Wednesday, Apr. 28, 2004. Page 2

Armenian Opposition Rallies, Halts Talks

The Associated Press Several thousand people rallied in the heart of the
Armenian capital, Yerevan, on Tuesday calling for the ouster of President
Robert Kocharyan, and opposition leaders said they have halted talks with
the governing coalition.

The rally, estimated at up to 7,000 people, was the latest in the weeks-long
series of protests that have raised political tensions in the country.

On Monday, opposition figures met with the speaker of parliament and other
governing coalition figures in an effort at easing the tensions, but Viktor
Dallakyan of the opposition Justice Party said Tuesday that the talks were

“The authorities are only pretending to be in the middle of a dialogue with
the opposition, but they are in fact continuing the policy of terror against
their own people,” Dallakyan said.

Dallakyan said that the next rally will be held May 4, after the situation
in Armenia is brought up at a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the
Council of Europe.

Parliament Speaker Artur Bagdasaryan said the decision to halt talks was
mutual and was meant to give the two sides time to ponder each other’s

Kocharyan won a second term in presidential elections a year ago that led to
mass protests, including nearly daily demonstrations between the first round
and the runoff.

Opposition groups alleged widespread violations in both rounds of the
election, which was followed by a parliamentary ballot in which the
pro-government party won the most votes.