By Rashid Shirinov
The event that the Armenians were afraid of has happened – the Armenian parliament elected former President Serzh Sargsyan to the post of the new prime minister on April 17. Thus, the population will continue to suffer in the poor country for seven more years at a minimum.
The meeting of the National Assembly (Parliament) began at 12 p.m., and it was possible to watch it online on the Internet for a couple of hours. However, after an MP from opposition asked Sargsyan uncomfortable questions, the broadcast stopped. The rest of time, until Sargsyan was declared the new prime minister, the population protesting outside the parliament building was not aware of what was happening inside.
The protesters blocked entrance in a number of state institutions, including the parliament, but the MPs from the ruling party somehow managed to enter the building in the morning.
While people were protesting in Yerevan streets, Sargsyan in his speech was trying to insure himself against accusation from the population in future: “I cannot say that all problems in the country will be completely solved in the foreseeable future and Armenia will be like a paradise.”
His 10-year-old statement is worth noting in this regard: “In Armenia to which we aspire, there will be no poor or privileged people. We will do our best to ensure that unemployment and poverty are finally overcome in Armenia.” These words are from Sargsyan’s election program in 2008 as a presidential candidate. However, during the past ten years, he together with his team was doing nothing but destroying the Armenian economy and plundering the state treasury.
Today Armenia is much weaker than it was in 2008, and now the person responsible for this will continue ruling the country for seven more years. Ten years ago Sargsyan deceived the Armenians by promising them a paradise, and today, having changed the country’s constitution and ensured unlimited power, he admits there is nothing to hope for.
At the same time, Sargsyan has covertly promised the Armenians a new war: “In the coming years, Armenia should pay the closest attention to the purchase of modern weapons and their independent production.” Thus, the new prime minister keeps trying to make the Armenians believe that Azerbaijan allegedly wants a war and Armenia has to defend, while the truth is just the opposite. Meanwhile, Sargsyan implies that the population should not expect an increase in social spending due to the military expenditure.
Early in the morning of April 19, head of the Way Out faction of the Armenian Parliament Nikol Pashinyan, who leads the protests, announced that he together with other demonstrators will block even more state institutions. Then the protesters headed to the third building of the Armenian government, where several ministries are located. Although the main and back doors were protected by the police, the activists did not let the public officials enter the building. The police tried to push people back, but they failed to break the wall of protesters.
After that the police began detaining people with the use of brute force. The Armenian media outlets reported that two policemen in plain clothes beat a journalist Tirayr Muradyan.
“One of them asked me why I was filming and started beating me together with his friend. I was shouting that I am a journalist, they could not overlook my identity card,” Muradyan informed. “There were policemen who saw everything. When I told one of them that I was beaten, he answered dismissively: “Yes, I saw, so what?”
Obviously, the activism of large masses of population scared the Armenian government, since the student buses between the Ararat province and Yerevan did not work on April 19. Moreover, the intercity buses between the town of Abovyan and Yerevan also did not run.
Later in the day, the demonstrators marched to the Petak shopping center, which had already been blocked by policemen. Meanwhile, employees of the Armenian branch of Synopsys IT company took to the street and blocked the avenue near the company’s office. The police used force, detained several people and unblocked the street.
“There is a total violation of rights: citizens are brought to the police stations on cars without the number plates, on personal cars, people are dragged to all sides without presenting legal demands,” Armenian journalist Zaruhi Mejlumyan wrote on Facebook.
The Armenian Police informed the media that the number of detainees was 100 people by 1.30 p.m., however, people believe that the real number is several times greater.
“Now the youth has risen up to realize what it means to be the master of their country,” Armenian politician Ashot Manucharyan told the media, reminding that Serzh Sargsyan had earlier promised the Armenians that he would not run for prime minister.
“Serzh Sargsyan does not exist anymore. He said “adopt the new Constitution, and I’m leaving.” This person made a vow to the people. Sargsyan was a man until the moment he broke his promise,” Manucharyan noted.
Thus, Armenia remains hostage of the former president, which means that the country, its economy and people will continue to be destroyed and robbed. However, activists who have been protesting in the streets of Yerevan and other major cities since last week have not given up yet. They still believe they will be able to free Armenia from the terrible rule of Sargsyan.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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