President: Unrest In Yerevan Has Stricken Hard At Tourism Sector


March 13, 2008

YEREVAN, March 13. /ARKA/. Unrest in Yerevan has stricken hard at
tourism sector, Armenian president Robert Kocharyan said on Wednesday.

On February 20, Armenian opposition headed by former president Levon
Ter-Petrosyan launched protests in Yerevan’s Libery Square disputing
the results of the recent presidential election and insisting that
the election was fraudulent.

The police attacked protesters Saturday night.

Protesters gathered in the square near France’s embassy and city hall.

The police department says one policeman and seven civilians were
killed and 131 injured in clashes.

President Kocharyan imposed a 20-day state of emergency on March 1.

Kocharyan told journalists on Thursday that the flow of tourists
dwindled and travel agencies voice alarm at the phenomenon saying
that tourists refuse from the packages booked for several months.

The president said that tourism is the most democratic sector in
Armenian economy.

He said all social strata, including taxi drivers, artists and
souvenir-makers take advantage from tourism development.

"The president elect and the government, which will be formed after
April 9, should do whatever necessary to restore the country’s image",
he said.

Kocharyan added that every citizen must be interested in that but
those who think they can take advantage from instability.

"The first necessary condition for attracting tourists is stability",
Kocharyan said.