Yerevan Anti-Government Rally -Live Feed & Updated Translation
Nikol Pashinyan Demands the "Capitulation" of the Republican Party of Armenia
Speakers at the mass public rally now taking place in Yerevan’s Republic Square spurned the government’s offer of conducting snap parliamentary elections, arguing that all elections organized by the ruling Republic of Armenia Party (RPA) have been fraudulent.
Anti-government movement representatives say they are in agreement with the idea of holding elections to form a new government and thus extricate the country from the current political impasse but not under RPA sponsorship.
Speakers announced the names of various government and police officials, including minor political parties, who have declared their support of the movement to effect regime change in Armenia.
Several of these officials addressed the crowd, numbering in the tens of thousands, voicing their support of the mass popular movement now taking place in Armenia.
Protest leader Nikol Pashinyan thanked those police officials who have broken ranks and now support the movement, telling the crowds that it is imperative for the people and the police to forge a new relationship in which law enforcement defends the rights of citizens rather than defending the interests of the ruling class.
Negotiations scheduled for today between Nikol Pashinyan and acting prime minister Karen Karapetyan were cancelled at the last minute. Karapetyan balked, arguing that the opposition had placed new demands regarding the format and agenda of the talks.
Rally speakers stressed the need for the establishment of the rule of law in Armenia, ushering in peaceful harmony amongst all citizens, arguing that peace in Armenia would also pave the way for a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict.
Zara Batoyan, a disabled human rights and feminist activist, called on all women to take their equal place in the future affairs of the country. She called on women to open their windows tonight and beat their pots and pans for fifteen minutes and thus send the RPA on its way.
Yelk Alliance MP Sasun Mikayelyan took the stage, telling the crowd that a new reality has appeared in Armenia and that those hanging on to power must reconcile themselves with this fact.
Speakers also noted that the current movement has also shaken the decrepit and fossilized cultural values in the country, calling for a new approach to drafting school curriculums and the vetting of school principals, doing away with the practice of nepotism and bribery within the sector.
Levon Barseghyan, who heads the Gyumri-based Asparez Journalists’ Club, congratulated protesters for “cutting the head of the dragon” on April 23 (referring the resignation of Serzh Sargsyan), while warning them at the same that the struggle against Republican Party of Armenia rule continues.
“They are quite willing to sacrifice on of their own, to play games and maneuver, in order to maintain power. We must not let them do so,” Barseghyan declared to thunderous applause.
Nikol Pashinyan - No Government in Armenia Now
Last to take the stage was Nikol Pashinyan, who has spearheaded the campaign to first force Serzh Sargayan to resign and now effect regime change in Armenia.
He called for the "capitulation" of the Republican Party of Armenia which has governed the country since 1998.
Pashinyan argued that with the resignation of Serzh Sargsyan as prime minister on April 23, in effect, the entire government had resigned, and that in reality, there was no "legal government" in Armenia now.
The protest leader said that Karen Karapetyan, who was serving as the deputy prime minister when Sargsyan had resigned, can not be seen as the interim prime minister and that he must not assume the powers of that position. Pashinyan argued that doing so could be seen as a criminal act.
A Warning to Karapetyan
Pashinyan also warned Karapetyan not to sign any declaration of a "state of emergency" and thus call out the army.
"You can sign any document you want. We will not be moved," Pashinyan declared, daring Karapetyan to try and do so.
Pashinyan went on to say that he had met with Russian government representatives today and had received assurances that Moscow would not interfere in Armenian domestic politics.
In conclusion, Pashinyan stated that he is willingly to discuss any matter on the smotth transfer of power and the process of forming an interim government.
"We are not saying that the elction of the next prime minister will take place in Republic Square. What we are saying is that the people of Armenia, and those in the square, have their candidate, and that the parliamentary factions, in consensus, must nominate that candidate for the post of prime minister," Pashinyan declared, adding that the National Assembly is bound to elect that person prime minister.
The rally was followed by a pop music concert that went on into the night.