Parliament Of Armenia Passed Amendments To Law On Rallies


18-03-2008 15:02:04

Late in the evening of March 17 the extraordinary session of the
parliament of Armenia passed amendments to the law on rallies,
marches and demonstrations on second reading. The parliament voted 90
to 6 in favor of the amendments. 5 of the six MPs who voted against
the amendments were from the opposition Heritage faction, one was
Victor Dallakyan.

The passage of the bill was preceded by statements of MPs. Speaker
Tigran Torosyan, Republican, said the bill might be imperfect but it
is aimed to prevent recurrence of March 1 and 2. "A drop of blood,
a human life is of more value than hundreds of meetings," said Tigran
Torosyan. The speaker agrees that people are dissatisfied and they will
always be but it does not justify the events of March 1, especially
that they took human lives. Torosyan underlined that after the passage
the law will be translated and extended to international experts.

For his part, Vahan Hovanisyan, ARF Dashnaktsutyun, said this law
is a situational solution of fundamental problems and in reality it
may not be a way out. "We are on the track for repressive solution
of problems. We do not admit our mistakes, and instead we introduce
more restrictions," he said. According to Hovanisyan, people are
waiting for another rally and the passage of such amendments may
provoke people. The member of parliament thinks that the role of the
government is to have people wait for reforms rather than rallies. The
member of parliament underlined that the role of the external factor
should not be excluded, but seeds grow in fertile soil and in this
situation "not only Soros is to blame".

Member of Parliament Victor Dallakyan said the bill has an obviously
political context and direction. "It is necessary to acknowledge
that today’s government may be opposition tomorrow." According to
him, all the restrictions on public events are clear repression and
"the impression is that situational problems and consequences are
addressed instead of the cause." He said it should not be forgotten
that those who voted for Levon Ter-Petrosyan, the radical opposition,
in reality voted against the government, and Ter-Petrosyan simply
acted as a generator of disagreement of people. "We must not focus on
the personality of the generator and ascribe supernatural abilities
to him but we must solve the problem," said Dallakyan, urging to vote
against the bill.

The members of parliament of the opposition Heritage faction also
urged to vote against the bill, noting that if passed the amendments
will enable entitling the law "On Not Holding Rallies, Marches and

After the first reading the members of parliament proposed amendments
to the bill, according to which it is necessary to note the source
the information from which underlies the decision of the authorized
body to make a decision on banning the given event, as well as an
amendment by which the organizer of disorders in the past will not
be authorized to hold an event.