Opposition in Armenia promises final showdown to oust regime

By: Mushvig Mehdiyev

Armenia finds itself once again in the eye of the storm as opposition leaders have warned they intend to depose the regime and restore power within the hands of the people as opposed to tyrants. Activists of a radical opposition movement launched the next rally to remind the rulers of the upcoming “end” of their tenure.

The Founding Parliament, an opposition force that seeks power change in Armenia, arranged its next rally to the Shirak region accompanied by police escort.

The key aim of the rally was to enter Gyumri region, but the plan was changed based on certain factors.

Zhirayr Sefilyan, leader of the opposition group, said they possessed information pertaining to the authorities’ alleged plans against them, hence prompting their desire to march on Yerevan and make themselves heard after reaching the outskirts of Gyumri.

Dozens of Founding Parliament activists, including Sefilyan, were confronted by police and angry plainclothes men on a similar trip to the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan earlier on January 31. Following a brutal attack by police and the people in the occupied lands, the group was forced to return to Yerevan suffering a bloody intervention which was severely condemned by many opposition and civic groups.

Nagorno-Karabakh region is Azerbaijan’s historical and internationally recognized territory, which Armenia keeps under occupation for over two decades following a bloody war, killing dozens and displacing over a million of ethnic Azerbaijanis.

Sefilyan said they would not fall for government’s lies and “swallow the bait” to be then victimized by the regime.

“The mere fact that the regime had deployed a police cordon around the Russian consulate building ahead of our arrival was enough to refrain us from entering Gyumri city. Because, they want to present the Founding Parliament as an anti-Russia force serving certain geopolitical interests,” he added.

The Founding Parliament activists confirm that their trips to major cities and towns in Armenia are part of a campaign to raise awareness prior to the largest ever protest gathering in Yerevan on April 24.

Members of the hardline opposition movement plan to launch a decisive anti-government push on the same day Yerevan’s regime plans to mark the centennial of the so-called “Armenian genocide” in the capital city, on April 24.

Although many Armenians believe this is a wrong timing for a political blow, the Founding Parliament leaders overtly announce that it is their deliberate choice to play hard ball against the rulers.

Sefilyan has recently revealed his plan to create a civil army in Armenia in an effort to provide the needed ground ahead of a regime’s possible overthrow.

While explaining their refusal to enter Gyumri, Spokesman for the Founding Parliament, Vardan Hakobyan said there were criminal elements conspired against the opposition.

“That’s why we changed our plans in order to avoid the next violation against the marchers,” he added.

The commemoration of the centennial of the “Armenian genocide” myth will apparently take a back sit next month if the nationwide rally succeeds to dethrone President Serzh Sargsyan along with his disciples. Otherwise, Armenia will experience its hardest ever political persecution to date. Local media (Zoghovurd newspaper) called the regime’s crackdown against the opposition a “manhunt”.