Crowds Attend Opposition Rally in Gyumri

Gyumri residents at an opposition rally (Photo: RFE/RL)

GYUMRI, Armenia (RFE/RL)—Armenia’s three main opposition parties rallied thousands of supporters in Gyumri on Wednesday, ending a two-week regional tour aimed at drumming up popular support for their larger anti-government protests planned in Yerevan.

The Prosperous Armenia (BHK), Armenian National Congress (AHK), and Zharangutyun parties again made clear that “regime change” is the main aim of their joint campaign. Senior BHK figures reiterated in that regard that their party, the second largest in parliament, is now officially seeking to end President Serzh Sarkisian’s rule.

“I said it [on Monday] and am now repeating that this government must go,” the BHK’s Naira Zohrabian told the crowd that gathered in a central Gyumri square. “We must not allow this government to cling to power for 10 more years with constitutional amendments. This must be the common agenda uniting you and us.”

“The authorities are to blame for the situation we are in,” said Stepan Markarian, another senior representative of the influential party headed by businessman Gagik Tsarukian.

“Do you want regime change? Do you want it now?” Armen Martirosian, Zharangutyun’s deputy chairman said, prompting “yes” cries from the crowd. “Your demand has been formulated,” he went on. “So we are going to realize that demand.”

The three parties are scheduled to take their campaign to Yerevan’s Liberty Square on Friday. It is not clear, however, whether that rally will be followed by more anti-government protests.

The opposition trio began touring Armenian regions on Sept. 25 in an effort to raise public awareness of their campaign and ensure strong attendance at the Yerevan rally. Levon Zurabian, an HAK leader, spoke of a “velvet revolution” unfolding in Armenia.

Speaking at the Gyumri rally, Zurabian claimed that the Armenian authorities are “really scared” of Friday’s rally, which will coincide with a key Eurasian Economic Union summit in Minsk. He said the Sarkisian administration has told the Russian government that the Armenian opposition is keen to disrupt Armenia’s accession to the Russian-led bloc. “The same people then went to the Americans and told them that the opposition has scheduled a rally for October 10 to force Serzh Sarkisian to join the Eurasian Union,” added Zurabian.


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    • Armenian said:

      I’m sorry, but this has got to be the stupidest assessment of these rallies ever.

      You don’t seem to understand that Armenia has serious problems and extremely self-destructive issues. If all you can say is that people who acknowledge and rally against these issues are taking orders from the West, as if Armenia is some flawless entity that does not need any improvement, then I really suggest you go there (which for sure will be your first time) and try living there for a year.

    • Armenian said:

      Job well done, by the way. One of the major goals of the Turkey was to separate the Armenian diaspora from Armenia, but here you are, doing it all by yourself. Good on you! You do all you can for Mother Russia.

      For your information, the Diaspora has contributed to every single meaningful development in that country from new museums, to hotels, to schools, to roads and pretty much every major responsibility of the government that the criminal oligarchs don’t want to do. Without the Diaspora there is no Armenia; however, I don’t expect you to understand that given that lately, you too have given into the groupthink about being terrified about Russia and doing everything in your power to separate Armenia from its lifeblood, the diaspora.

      • GeorgeMardig said:

        You know nothing about me, if I’ve ever been in Armenia or how many times, but rest assured that I’ve more input on Armenia than you do, if people want a Western Armenia, than they can go and recover Western Armenia from Turkey and have a pro west, pro NATO Armenia, but do not risk the small Armenian that we have. All countries have room for improvement including the US, however Armenia is improving slowy but surely.

        • Armenian said:

          Stop trying to separate the diaspora from Armenia, and stop trying to defend Russian and Turkish interests with that regard.

          • GeorgeMardig said:

            How can Russia and Turkey mix? Turkey and US make sence, but Russia nad Turkey? I guess I’m wasting my time with you un necessarily

    • said:

      Wow! What a coincidence… Armenian and Russian troops hold military exercises in Gyumri against “Ottomania” and at the same time “crowds” attend an opposition rally. Connect the dots. Stinks like Ms. Nuland’s Maidan cookies.

      By the way, Ottomania, (parts of) Ukraine, (parts of) Gurjistan, (parts of) Moldova and a bunch of other “(partial) democracies” signed those stinky EU “Association” agreements that Armenia rejected.

  1. Hovik said:

    Then we blame turks and azeris why they want Armenia to fail? in fact some of the Armenians actively pursuing to Armenia fails… because unity is a “impossible mission” in Armenian community to achieve!

  2. Avetis said:

    Dear President Putin,

    Please come to Armenia and put an end to our misery for we Armenians are not yet ready to govern ourselves.