Armenia’s newly appointed Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan today reminded opposition leader Nikol Pashinyan about the 2008 March 1 deadly post-election clashes to convince him to back off of him. Sargsyan made clear that there could be no talk of his resignation in a 3-minute tense conversation in front of reporters in Marriott hotel in central Yerevan.
“I’m glad that you responded to my many negotiation calls. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure how much we’d be able to negotiate in front of reporters,” Sargsyan told Pashinyan at the start.
“I think there’s been a misunderstanding. I’d clearly stated that I would not be entering into a dialogue with you but would discuss the terms of your resignation and smooth and peaceful transfer of power,” Pashinyan responded.
Sargsyan interrupted the oppositionist, insisting that Pashinyan was blackmailing him by giving an ultimatum to “the legal authorities of the state.” “You’ve learned nothing from March 1; and if you don’t change your tone and come to the legal field, you’ll bear full responsibility [for the consequences]. The choice is yours,” Sargsyan charged.
“I want to make it clear that no one has ever dared and no one will ever dare to speak to us in a threatening tone. I’m telling you, you no longer have any authority [in the country]; the power has shifted to the people,” Pashinyan replied.
“A faction that got 7-8% of the vote [in the last parliamentary elections] has no right to speak on behalf of the people. If you don’t want to comply with the legitimate demand of the state, then goodbye,” Sargsyan charged and hurried out of the room.
Recall, that on March 1st, 2008, early in the morning, police violently dispersed an opposition camp site in Freedom Square. After the Presidential elections on February 19, 2008, there were 10 days of peaceful protests at Freedom Square. On March 1st, protesters gathered on Grigor Lusavorich St. for many hours. During the evening hours, the protesters were shot at. 10 people were murdered: 2 police officers and 8 citizens. Until this day, no one has been accused or tried for the March 1st deaths. Photos and videos have been released of the March 1st incident which clearly proves that the actions against the opposition was by the armed forces.
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