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Ter-Petrosyan Calls for Parliament Speaker's Dismissal After Spitting Incident

Former Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan has called for the dismissal of Parliament Speaker Alen Simonyan for spitting at ARF member Karen Megerdichyan on Sunday for calling him a “traitor”.

Ter-Petrosyan, in a statement today, described Simonyan’s behavior as “disgusting and unforgivable” and called on the ruling Civil Contract parliamentary faction to dismiss Simonyan “in order not to lose its credit in the eyes of the people.”

"This is the only way to restore the honor of our people in front of the international community<" Ter-Petrosyan added.

Simonyan has not denied spitting at the Canadian-born Megerdichyan during the encounter Sunday at Yerevan’s Kaskad (Cascade) pedestrian square.

"No matter how much I tried to restrain myself, I still couldn't stop thinking about the disgusting incident that happened two days ago when a young man saw National Assembly Speaker Alen Simonyan surrounded by bodyguards on the street and loudly called him a traitor. Simonyan, calmly breaking through the chain of bodyguards, quietly approached the young man with and spat in his face, which, by the way, he proudly confirmed in his explanations after the incident,” Ter-Petrosyan writes.

Megerdichyan claimed that Simonyan directed his bodyguards to grab his hands before swearing at him and spitting in his face. He said he was briefly detained by police.

Simonyan, in a Facebook post, claimed Megerdichyan publicly insulted him earlier this year, but that he ignored him.

“The second time, I responded to his right to free speech and insults with my opinion about him and my freedom,” Simonyan wrote, adding that anyone insulting Armenian authorities will get a “legal response.”

Update: Simonyan, in a Facebook post responding to Ter-Petrosyan, said he was surprised that the first Armenian president has called for his resignation.

“I am not a traitor, never have been and never will be, and the day when my compatriots gather on the street again need my guidance, I will not sit at home. I will be by their side, and I don’t give a damn what anyone says later, Simonyan wrote.

Simonyan invited Ter-Petrosyan to the National Assembly to discuss who has caused the greatest damage to Armenia’s reputation.

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