ARF Joins the Movement
YEREVAN—“This popular struggle will not die down. We will achieve victory,” said opposition presidential candidate Raffi Hovannisian on Firday as he addressed thousands of supporters who had gathered at Liberty Square to hear a briefing on his meeting Thursday with Serzh Sarkisian at the Presidential Palace.
Hovannisian, who addressed the crowd that has been multiplying exponentially since Monday’s elections, reported that Sarkisian rejected all of his proposals, which aimed to satisfy the aspirations of Armenia’s citizens following the presidential polls.
Hovannisian said that among the points discussed with Sarkisian was holding of repeat elections, the response to which was a “No.” He then proposed snap parliamentary elections based on a representative system. “What do you think was the answer? No,” said Hovannisian.
“I have nothing to say to these de facto leaders anymore,” added Hovannisian.
“I stand before you to say that we will not surrender, we will not hide, and we will not rest until the voice of our people is heard in our government. City by city, village by village, we will take our country back,” said Hovannisian, who announced that he would be expanding this movement to regions outside of Yerevan with rallies in Vanadzor, Gyumri and Ashtarak on Saturday. He asked the people to reconvene at Liberty Square at 3 p.m. Sunday to further the movement.
ARF Joins the Movement
The Armenian Revolutionary Federation joined the thousands upon thousands of Armenian citizens gathered at Freedom Square Friday, with the party’s Supreme Council of Armenia representative Armen Rustamian delivering a powerful message of solidarity with the people.
After a series of speeches by Raffi Hovannisian’s Heritage Party leaders, other opposition leaders, civil society activists, and artists, Hovannisian introduced Rustamian, saying: “Today we are joined by a political figure whose party, our party, the party of my ancestors, in the name of the fatherland, unity, our national interests, the rights of the citizen, and our state’s sovereignty, wages a struggle wherever it is necessary, from Strasbourg to Ankara to Moscow to Washington…. Please welcome the representative of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Armen Rustamyan.”
Rustamian first spoke of the ARF decision to come to Freedom Square. “For a few days now, Freedom Square was waiting for—and wanted to see—the ARF. And we are now here! We have come here, to this rally, because as we announced earlier, the ARF stands with you, with the people,” he said.
Rustamian noted that the Armenian people proved on Feb. 18 that it’s impossible to kill justice and freedom. He said, “The people does not tolerate the rotten political, social, economic, and moral environment.”
Rustamian joined other opposition leaders at the rally in their criticism of the statements of international observers, who deemed the elections fair. “Regardless of what the international observers say, it is you who took part in the election, and you know all too well what really happened,” Rustamian said.
“This is an unstoppable movement to establish the rule of the people,” argued Rustamian.