Hovannisian Urges High Turnout on April 9

Protesters during a gathering on Friday at Liberty Square

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian on Friday reaffirmed his intention to declare himself Armenia’s president on Tuesday and urged supporters to attend his “inauguration” in Yerevan’s Liberty Square in droves.

Holding a fresh rally in the square, he again warned President Serzh Sarkisian against being sworn in for a second term on that day. “Woe to those who will take a false oath on April 9. We will not forgive them,” he declared.

Hovannisain  again urged Armenians from all over the country to converge on Liberty Square, attend the “proclamation and inauguration of a new Armenia” and “flush out these dirty authorities” on April 9. “We will be coming with families and friends full of confidence … We will jointly take the oath,” he said.

Hovannisian said the ceremony will be followed by daylong demonstrations in the capital. He did not clarify whether the crowd led by him will march to the presidential palace.

The opposition leader also warned the authorities against blocking roads leading to Yerevan to keep residents of Armenian regions from joining his April 9 rallies. They must also refrain from deploying army and special police units, he said.

Hovannisian embarked on a four-day “national enlistment” campaign to recruit citizens for the inauguration of a New Armenia, which is scheduled to begin at 11am on April 9 at Liberty Square, according to an official release from the Heritage Party.

Hovannisian ended a 21-day hunger strike Sunday and attended Easter Mass at Holy Etchmiadzin.

On Monday, Hovannisian traveled to Kapan, Goris, Sisian, Yeghegnadzor, Ararat, Goravan, and Artashat.

“On April 9 we shall make history together at Liberty Square,” Hovannisian told hundreds of supporters gathered in Ararat. He added that a team of lawyers and members of parliament will be on call that day, in the event that roadblocks prevent the free passage of citizens from the regions to the capital.

Hovannisian supporters and opponents scuffled in Kapan on Monday after a local woman interrupted Hovannisian’s speech at the rally, saying that he is only hungry for power and “has done nothing for the people.” She was backed by several other government loyalists who demanded that he leave Kapan, reported RFE/RL.

The jeers resulted in a brief tussle between opposition supporters and the individuals whom Hovannisian branded as government “provocateurs.” Police officers at the scene stood by and looked on before declaring that the rally is illegal because it was not sanctioned by local authorities.

Hovannisian scheduled the Kapan rally late last week after Synik governor Surik Khachatrian reportedly threatened to “smash Raffi’s head” because of what he called a falsification of Armenian history by the opposition leader’s father, prominent U.S.-Armenian historian Richard Hovannisian.

Hovannisian challenged the notoriously violent governor to confront him at Kapan’s central square. He said on Monday that Khachatrian chose instead to try to disrupt his rally.

Khachatrian denied any involvement in the incident. “He was the one who had something to tell me,” Khachatrian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) by phone. “He should have come to my office instead of inviting me to a debate watched by several dozen people.”

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5 Comments

  1. Georgek said:

    Dear Raffi,

    YOU WERE NOT elected president of Armenia! Although I WISH YOU WERE. But YOU ARE NOT elected.

    If you are expecting others to respect rule of law then you yourself should do the same. It really does not matter how Serzh Sarkisian was elected. Regardless, he was elected. How do you think US president or Italy’s presidents get elected? Exactly the same way Serzh Sarkisian got elected.

    Ballots in every town you disputed were re-counted. In each and every one Serzh Sarkisian came on top.

    You have marred Armenia’s image as a peaceful country.
    You have made Armenia a joke in lots of international media.
    You are destroying Armenia’s reputation as a reliable strong country (Exactly what Azerbaijan and Turkey want)
    You are hurting tourism.

    You are hurting Armenia and worse than all you have DIVIDED OUR PEOPLE.

    Dear Raffi, please gracefully accept election results and let’s move on. We have a lot of work to do. We have long and hard road ahead of us.

    You raised our first flag in UN. Now use your popularity to make Armenia strong. There are many areas your popularity can help.

    I just pray and hope April 9 will end peacefully and we can move on.

    Regards,

    Georgek

    • Satenik said:

      Georgek,

      Reading through all that has happened and is happening and reading between the lines, I am afraid that Raffi has been “appointed” to do EXACTLY the damage that you have pointed to. I don’t think he does these things accidentely, I think that they are well calculated to cause maximum damage possible to the image of Armenia and Armenians, particularly as far as foreign media is concerned. Call me a cynic if you want but the guy is a rotten apple and a thug! If there was the slightest doubt of what he was, his recent thuggish behaviour has proved beyond any doubt what he is. I am so disappointed of Asbarez’s stance. I hope that my comments are published. One day some naive people might just think over what they are doing. We’ve already had negative publicity prior to the election in every singlr international newspaper and it had nothing to do with the present president but with so called assassination attempts and all that scandel ( Assassins don’t miss their targets, but the guy was well enough to hold several meetings afterwards)!

  2. Mack Vahanian said:

    Dear Georgek

    I am sorry to say that you don’t bloody know what are you talking about!

    Apparently you don’t know Kocharian or Kocharian the way they are looting the country.

    Go live in Armenia for a few months and visit the small towns and villages and see with your own eyes
    the desperate situation and misery of the population and then compare it with Yerevan” s high rise buildings, casinos, lavish hotels.
    Go and find out who owns our national resources, molybdenum and gold mines etc.

    We waited not sixty but sixty two years to celebrate the abolition of Kars treaty. But what happened on the 62nd year? They nullified the said treaty without discussing the matter in the parliament or calling a referendum. The irony is that none of our so called patriotic political parties, including the ARF, non of
    them cared to reveal the secret, whether they had renewed the treaty for another 60 years, or 100 years
    or sold it to our arch enemy for few billion dollars and transferred the the amounts to their Swiss Bank accounts. Perhaps you have heard of Mr. Dole’s list of our parliamentarians foreign bank account, which was handed over to our beloved late Vazgen Sarkisyan?

    Further more, under the Turko-Armenian Protocols treaty, by ignoring the whole Armenian population’s
    request,and world wide protest, they cowardly signed the treaty. THIS IS THE SAME TREATY WHICH LEVON TER PETROSYAN DIDN’T BUDGE AND PREFERRED TO RESIGN RATHER TO SIGN!

    I join you only in one thing alone, which is hoping we won’t loose many more lives by those cowards,
    the way we lost so many un-armed innocent women and children on March 1, scandalous police brutality. They didn’t even allow the media to discuss or question Kocharian and Voskanian for their criminal acts.

    RAFFI HOVAESSIAN IS JUST TRYING TO MAKE THE CULPRITS ACCOUNTABLE, NOT FOR HIS SAKE, BUT FOR THE SAKE OF OUR BELOVED FATHERLAND AND THE SUFFERINGS OF OUR NATION. . . .

    Do you want me to carry on?

    P.S. Why don’t you reveal your surname and identity so that one could estimate your background and relevant capacity in order to know how to address you.

    09.04.2013

  3. Ed said:

    Georgek, you have no clue what you are talking about — or— you are sent here by the corrupt government of Armenia to spread misinformation. No ballots have been counted, as you have mentioned.

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