The March 1 rally was a magnificent nationwide rally and, based on different reports, 50,000–60,000 had gathered and this shows that the movement is on the right path and is gathering momentum, said Armenian National Congress (HAK) coordinator Levon Zurabyan at a press conference in Yerevan today.
During the press conference, Zurabyan considered the activities of police during the March 1 rally to be “criminal.” According to the HAK coordinator, police that day were engaged not in maintaing public order, but in politics. Zurabyan said police were “pressuring” people to move toward the Matenadaran (Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts) so that it didn’t appear that many people had gathered, but as a result of this, he continued, people could suffocate in the crowds.
“This is a crime and we urge for it to stop; you can’t trample people for political views,” said HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrossian’s right-hand man.
To prevent dangerous incidents at rallies, Zurabyan presented police with four requests ahead of the Mar. 17 HAK rally, which Zurabyan said will be bigger than the last one.
“First, for the police, aiming to preach, to stop the criminal actions of squashing people and the creation of artificial police barriers; second, there are two solutions from the police’s point of view — either open Liberty Square, since this issue won’t arise there, or close Koryun street completely. The third demand, police, in order not to create additional tensions, let them not send plainclothes officers. Fourth, let them stop sending provocative agents, since the scale of our rallies is currently increasing at an unprecedented rate and police have a responsibility that citizens’ security should be above all else and not try to endanger people’s lives with their political actions,” he said.