Armenian Oppositionist Warns Against Civil Disobedience Calls


12:11 ~U 22.02.13

Stepan Safaryan of the opposition Heritage party has warned against any
attempts to make civil disobedience calls during their post election
rallies protesting the election outcome.

It comes after several members of the party saw in the Thursday rally’s
video record a dispute between the party’s chief, Armen Martirosyan,
and several young activists.

“Unless [Heritage leader] Raffi Hovhannisyan or any of his supporters
make a call for civil disobedience, he [a young activist who raised
his voice of protest in the square on Thursday] has no right to do so.

That was the reason behind Armen Martirosyan’s anger. Especially
because the activist, whom I respect very much, voices a call at the
rally of a man he does not have much sympathy for,” Safaryan told, commenting on the incident.

The tension was high in Liberty Square on Thursday evening before
Hovhannisyan made his public appearance. Two young activists, Karen
Harutyunyan (who had earlier provoked a spontaneous protest action
at the OSCE/ODIHR election observers’ news conference) and Bayandur
Poghosyan, began making protesting remarks, questioning the expediency
of the Heritage leader’s decision to meet the re-elected president
without consultations with the public.

Hovhannisyan, who was Serzh Sargsyan’s closest rival in the Monday
presidential election, launched the rally in Liberty Square on February
19 to dispute the voting results, which he claimed are tainted by
fraud. He later urged for a meeting with Sargsyan right in the square,
but eventually decided to go to the presidential office himself to
discuss the matter.

At yesterday’s rally, Hovhannisyan left the square early to
participate in the party’s session. Commenting on the meeting’s
agenda, Safaryan said it was totally devoted to the protest. As for
the Sargsyan-Kocharyan meeting, Safaryan refrained making any comment,
referring to an earlier promise for making the information public in
the local daily Hraparak.

The paper said in a Friday report that the president offered three
scenarios to Hovhannisyan at the meeting, asking him particularly to
(1) form a new opposition pole and admit the election result, (2)
take drastic steps together with other supporters and be ready for
an equivalent response by the authorities, and (3) collaborate with
the ruling Republican Party of Armenia.

Asked whether yesterday’s meeting with the re-elected president could
have caused Hovahnnisyan to decide between saying good-bye to the
authorities or joining a new coalition government, Safaryan answered,
“There are, at least, two foreseeable options: either to deepen
hostilities and achieve a regime change through a confrontation or …

If some now think that it is necessary to undertake steps against
Serzh Sargsyan, they are free to do it.”

Safaryan, who is the Heritage party’s political secretary, doesn’t
think their leader did something that could have damaged the party’s
reputation. “He says what he has to say without airs and graces,”
the politician explained.

From: Baghdasarian

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