Armenia’s Opposition Would Not Abandon Its


Axis Information & Analysis
July 21 2008

Armenia’s opposition would not abandon its plans for staging rally
despite ban imposed by National Security Service

Armenia’s opposition has again signaled its readiness to defy the ban
on its planned rally and press ahead with the protest action slated
for August 1, online paper ArmeniaNow reports. Last week Yerevan’s
municipality again cited security reasons to make a decision not to
allow the opposition led by first president Ter-Petrosyan to stage
a rally and a subsequent march either in downtown Liberty Square
or near Matenadaran, a nearby ancient manuscripts museum. Instead,
it advised the opposition to gather near either the city’s largest
Hrazdan football arena or the second largest stadium, Dynamo. The
opposition deems both locations situated just off the city center
unsuitable for its rallies.

In imposing the bans the municipality had invoked information from
the National Security Service (NSS) that large gatherings in downtown
Yerevan posed security risks for immediate participants and other
members of the public, ArmeniaNow marks. However, both opposition
rallies went on peacefully, with no incident reported.

Arman Musinyan, the spokesman for opposition leader Levon
Ter-Petrosyan, would not elaborate on the opposition’s further steps to
try to repeal the municipality’s decision legally. He only emphasized
that the opposition would not abandon its plans for staging the
rally. At the same time, Musinyan called the municipality’s proposal
to hold rallies in other venues "unacceptable". Meanwhile, Head of
the Organization and Inspection Division at the Yerevan Municipality
Gagik Baghdasaryan confirmed to ArmeniaNow that the decision not to
authorize the opposition rally in Liberty Square and near Matenadaran
was based on the data provided by the National Security Service and
police. "Under law, notifications about planned rallies, including
opposition rallies, are sent to police and the National Security
Service. And since I had received a reply that during the planned rally
and a subsequent march there would be participants who, according
to operative data, would attempt to instigate clashes with police
workers by means of unlawful provocative actions, I made a decision
to ban the event," Baghdasaryan explained. "The fact that there were
no incidents during two rallies does not give me reasons to disregard
the National Security Service and police information," he added.