Prime Minister Sargsyan says he does not want to ‘use coercive measures’
Today is the eighth day of protests in Armenia. Demonstration organisers have called the civil disobedience movement a ‘velvet’ revolution and continue to call for support.
Thousands of people have shown up in support and are protesting from the early morning to late at night.
The leader of the movement and opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan has stated that the situation has become a ‘battle of nerves’. With the demonstrations, protesters seek to paralyze traffic and state institutions with the aim of forcing Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan to step down from his position.
Sargsyan held an interview with Shant TV station and commented on the situation:
“I have no desire to use coercive measures, but absolute permissiveness cannot reign in the country. There are always complaints among the public, not only in Armenia. Unfortunately, the quality of life [here] does not allow the people to fulfill themselves in ways they would like. However, the problem here cannot be found in dissatisfaction nor in [recent] changes.
“We have ourselves noticed how the possibilities and opportunities for citizens to voice their complaints and dissatisfaction have grown over the years. Citizens have been able for many years to voice their protest, as long as it remains peaceful. I think that this is beneficial for the state as well as the people. The important thing is for these complaints and protests to be expressed within the limits of the law.”
Sargsyan says that ‘national wisdom’ will provide for a satisfactory resolution to the problem.
“Understanding that their form of protest and demonstrations and so on is on some level limiting the rights and freedoms of others in society means that there is a boundary over which they cannot step.”
Activists of the civil disobedience movement have been closing down streets in different parts of the city. Police have been able to restore circulation in some parts of the city, while announcing that the demonstration is illegal and its participants will be detained – which does happen periodically.
More on the protests: