YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Armenia’s leading opposition parties represented in parliament made clear on Friday that they will not join nonstop anti-government protests in Yerevan planned by another, more radical opposition group.
One of them, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun), condemned the Founding Parliament movement for timing the start of its campaign to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in Ottoman Turkey to be marked on April 24.
Dashnaktsutiun’s parliamentary leader, Armen Rustamian, said the Founding Parliament’s declared drive to oust President Serzh Sarkisian could overshadow the centenary commemorations and undermine the Armenian campaign for greater international recognition of the 1915 genocide.
Rustamian also urged the Armenian government to take “preventive” measures against leaders of the extraparliamentary group. “What if they organize an explosion? Shouldn’t they be caught?” he told reporters.
Senior lawmakers representing the Armenian National Congress (HAK) and the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK) also ruled out their participation in the campaign. The BHK’s Mikael Melkumian, for his part, argued that his party is against anti-government “revolutions.”
“We ourselves set our agenda and initiate our actions,” said the HAK’s Aram Manukian. “We haven’t discussed such an issue. We haven’t been asked to.”
The Founding Parliament, which is very critical of the mainstream Armenian opposition, has yet to publicize the venue of its rallies and explain just how it hopes to topple Sarkisian. The group’s rallies held in Yerevan and other parts of the country to date have not attracted large crowds.