Opposition leader predicts “humanitarian crisis” in Armenia

levon_rally_march_1Citing major challenges faced by Armenia due to looming economic crisis and strained regional ties, opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian on Sunday addressed a rally to mark first anniversary of the 2008 post-election clashes in Yerevan, saying he’ll have to “disappoint” radically minded supporters and rejected call for “decisive action” for the time being.
“Armenia today faces challenges of restoring democracy, Karabakh resolution, overcoming regional isolation and economic crisis,” Ter-Petrosian, Armenia’s first president from 1991-1998 and leader of Armenian National Congress (HAK) opposition movement told thousands of supporters, denouncing “revolt and revolution” as the country “is headed towards difficult times, loaded with danger of social and perhaps even humanitarian crisis.”
“I am convinced that the country is literally falling into a precipice,” the opposition leader said, assuring the crowd that “after some time a completely different, much more favorable situation will take shape. I don’t exclude the possibility, that soon the ruling regime will find itself in such a situation, when it will be forced to resign and even ask us to form a National Rescue Government. Current crisis will be worse and harder to overcome, than even the crisis in 1990’s.”
“The Armenian National Congress is a unity of new political culture and quality, which has no analogues in Armenia’s modern history. This new political culture and new quality will surely result in a new victory,” the charismatic opposition leader stated.
Recalling March 1 clashes, Ter-Petrosian accused the authorities, saying, “Jails remain full of dozens of our friends. For a whole year authorities have done nothing to discover those responsible for [March 1] crime – killers, looters, torchers, because those were all their men.”
Opposition said over 100,000 people participated in the rally, while police estimated the figure at 5,000.
Police had initially blocked access to the planned rally location. Faced with pressure from the crowd and opposition leaders soon the police officers broke the chain and opened access to the square of Matenadaran ancient manuscript museum, a common rally location in Armenia.
RFE/RL reporters earlier witnessed a number of cases when public transport from the regions was turned back and drivers refused to transport people to Yerevan citing various reasons.
image006Entry to Yerevan was guarded by strengthened police patrol. Security was tight near the rally location as well with water cannon and fire-brigades brought into French square nearby.
This rally was the first major opposition gathering since October 17, 2008, when Ter-Petrosian called for a “temporary” halt to his year-long campaign of anti-government demonstrations, citing the need to stave off greater Armenian concessions on Nagorno-Karabakh which he said are sought by the West.
The rally was followed by a march through central Yerevan to Grigor Lusavorich avanue, the epicentre of last year’s deadly clashes.

Artur Papyan

Journalist, blogger, digital security and media consultant


  1. Thanks for the reporting!

  2. NOTE: An edited and fuller version of this report can be found on RFE/RL’s website for which I originally prepared it.

  3. This rally which was the largest after 1st march 2008 Bandtocratic regim`s terror show that the steps of president Ter-Petrosian were very clever and very resultative.
    Ter-Petrosian did the thing which was unprecident from 1988-1991 he not only orgnised movement but al;so he maintained it very much.While the regime is becoming weaker and weaker.
    Karabakh Problem`s antiarmenian developements,financial economical world crisis and the movement for democracy will finally paralise the regime`s power.
    Ter-Petrosian made another strategical step on the way of victory today.He didnt started the sit down strikes today though today there were enough people for starting this but he appointed the next date of the rally 1st may.During this time the economic crisis will become biger and biger and the regime will show that he is not able to change the situation and what will do the hungry citizens?They will join the opposition and then we can count the last days of the regime !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I must say, I could not agree with you in 100%, but that’s just my opinion, which could be very wrong.
    p.s. You have an awesome template . Where did you find it?

  5. Today 15.03.2009 During the Poloitical Councill Of Armenian NAtional Congress was addopted a deceison according which The President of Armenia LEvon Ter-Petrosyan will be leading the list of ANC during the Mayor Ellections of Yerevan.The spokesmen of Armenian National Congress Arman Musinyan officially announced that President Ter-Petrosyan has given already his agreement to run for Mayor of Yerevan .Imagine the Panic of the Bandocratic Regime and Enjoy it :-))

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