The leader of the opposition “Resistance” movement, Ishkhan Saghatelyan, told thousands of supporters gathered at Yerevan’s French Square on Tuesday, that the protests and rallies that have been going on since May 1 have had a positive result in their efforts to oust Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
In a speech delivered ahead of a march through Yerevan streets, Saghatelyan, who is a deputy speaker of parliament representing the opposition Armenia Alliance, said that the unimpeded daily rallies and protests have had a groundswell of support and have proven that there is voice in the country that will fight for Armenia and Artsakh.
The “Resistance” movement protests have been marred by brutal police response. At one point hundreds of protesters were being arrested on daily basis, with law enforcement response escalating recently to include beating and dragging of protesters on the street.
The police violence was criticized by the United States Embassy in Yerevan, the European Union’s representation there as well as Armenia’s Human Rights Defender’s office.
Saghatelyan said that moving forward, the movement will seek to establish more focused subdivisions and committees to better get the message across, and will include professional workshops, visits to the various regions of Armenia and public meetings. He explained that local committees will also be formed in Artsakh and in various communities in the Diaspora.
The new course charted by Saghatelyan also envisions one large rally a week—a departure from the daily gatherings—as well as one weekly march. He announced that a march would take place on Thursday, followed by a rally at the French Square on Saturday.
Saghatelyan also announced that tents erected at French Square, where hundreds stayed overnight, would be dismantled on Wednesday, vowing, however, that tents can go up when needed.
“At the rally, we will talk exclusively about what kind of Armenia we will represent. We will present our ideas in all directions,” said Saghatelyan, who also the chairman of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia.