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Hrant Gadarigian

Freedom Square March 2, 2003 – Raffi Hovannisian: “I invite Serzh Sargsyan to show up and give an accounting to the people”

Jirayr Sefilyan, Andreas Ghoukasyan and Nikol Pashinyan Address Thousands Calling for Serzh Sargsyan to Resign

Freedom Square in Yerevan was overflowing with people at today’s rally in support of Raffi Hovannisian and his ongoing struggle to reject the official vote results of the February 18 presidential election.

Speakers included Jirayr Sefilyan and Nikol Pashinyan, Andreas Ghoukasyan and Zarouhie Postanjyan.

Raffi Hovannisian invited Serzh Sargsyan to Freedom Square on March 5 and to face the people who had voted him out of office.

Hovannisian called on Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and Yerevan Mayor Taron Karapetyan to submit their resignations publicly for the lies and fraud they have perpetrated during their terms of office.

He called on them to display their morality and Christian spirit to give an accounting to the people for the error of their ways.

Hovannisian said he would consult with his lawyers and decide whether or not to petition the Central Electoral Commission to declare the February 18 election null and void.

He asked the crowd when the next rally should be held, March 5 or March 8. The people answered March 8; the day when they demand to see Serzh Sargsyan at Freedom Square and account for his misdeeds in front of the people.

Jirayr Sefilyan told the crowd that a real opportunity had arisen to “build the Armenia of our dreams.” He warned the crowd that the past mistakes of the opposition must not be repeated.

Sefilyan, an Artsakh military commander, said that the regime’s ploy to use “national security” as a pretext to halt the current unfolding struggle will no longer be swallowed.

“We cannot wait another five years,” declared Sefilyan. “In 2008, the regime succeeded in dividing the people. This time we are united as one, Armenia, Artsakh and the diaspora.”

Sefilyan said that no of the leaders of the past who betrayed the will of the people would be allowed on the platform at Freedom Square.

Andreas Ghoukasyan, the presidential candidate who went on hunger strike, gave a fiery speech lambasting the current regime. He called for unity of purpose as well.

“Today, 10 million Armenians around the world are watching what happens in Freedom Square to see if the people are ready to take the struggle for freedom and justice till the end,” said Ghoukasyan.

He then asked the crowd, “Are you ready?” To which the crowd thunderously responded, “Yes”

Ghoukasyan said that the people must demand the resignation of all ruling Republican Party officials from regional and municipal posts.

He also called for the people to organize and proposed the formation of citizens’ council to represent the people’s will parallel to existing government structures.

As Nikol Pashinyan, the firebrand political activist, approached the microphone he was welcomed with chants of “Nikol, Nikol”

He noted that on March 1, 2008, the Kocharian/Sargsyan clique occupied Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, with tanks and the army.

Pashinyan said that today, the people have launched a struggle to build a new Armenia on behalf of those who died five years ago.

He said that the people have united in a sacred cause and that the regime’s attempt to pit one region against the other is doomed to failure.

“Our struggle is for the unity of all Armenians, that the rule of law covers each and every citizen of the country. The hour of unity, brotherhood and victory is upon us,” declared Pashinyan.

Pashinyan said the goal of the people and the pan-national struggle embodied by Raffi Hovannisian, the elected president of the people, is a simple one –irreversible victory.

“Victory of nothing,” exclaimed Pashinyan.

He proposed that on April 9, inauguration day, the people fill Republic Square and conduct a popular inauguration of Raffi Hovannisian as the next president of Armenia.

Pashinyan said that faced with such an outpouring of the people’s will, Serzh Sargsyan will be forced to admit defeat and that he isn’t the choice of the people. 

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