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Kristine Aghalaryan

Opposition HAK to Hold Next Rally on February 18

Levon Zurabyan, a leading spokesman for the opposition-based HAK (Armenian National Congress) told reporters today that their next public rally is scheduled for February 18 at 5pm at Opera’s Freedom Square. Zurabyan said the date has symbolic significance given that the last round of contested presidential elections took place on February 19, 2008. He added that recent social protests taking place in Yerevan prove that segments in the society are finally maturing in terms of civic awareness and action. Zurabyan said that given the increased socio-economic tensions, it would behove the government to take immediate measures for radical reform. Instead, according to the HAK leader, the government has chosen a strategy leading to even further social tension He argued that the government cannot take such necessary measures because it and the system it represents are heavily dependent on the support of the oligarchs and cannot take measures that threaten their interests. Zurabyan said that the government has thus targeted small and medium sized business that remain outside the control of the dominant oligarchic structure.