Armenian Leader Criticized In U.S.


The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 12, 2008.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Bryza,
who recently returned from Armenia, sharply condemned a government
crackdown on protests following last month’s presidential election.

Bryza also raised concern about the recent arrests of government
opponents close to former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan.

The government declared a 20-day state of emergency on March 1 after
clashes between protesters and police left eight people dead and
dozens injured.

"The violence really was deplorable," Bryza said Monday. "It seems
clear that the reaction by the government was harsh and brutal."

Following the Feb. 19 vote, election officials declared Prime Minister
Serzh Sargsyan the winner over Ter-Petrosyan, who appealed, claiming
fraud, and organized protests. On Saturday, the Constitutional Court
rejected the appeal.