The Armenian National Congress (ANC), led by the former President of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrosyan, will hold no public rallies for the next two months.
The announcement was made by the party leader before thousands of protesters who gathered on Yerevan’s Liberty Square, Armenia Now reports.
The decision was reportedly based on the reality that ANC stands alone in the opposition camp. Ter-Petrosyan may be seeking supporters among other opposition parties to strengthen his position against the ruling party. Heritage and the Prosperous Armenia Party were planning to stage a joint protest with ANC but pulled out at the last moment which is why the rally was rescheduled for the first day of March. Ter-Petrosyan also stated that another reason for not holding public rallies is not to obstruct organization and holding of events related to the centennial of Armenian genocide. Furthermore, according to the former head of state, time is needed to assess the strategies for continuation of the struggle against Sargsyan’s government through street protests.
The first days of March mark the seventh anniversary of the bloody crackdown on peaceful Armenian civilians by the Sargsyan government during the post-election public protests in Yerevan. In late February, 2008 thousands of Armenians poured into the streets to protests rigged elections. Opposition believes the incumbent Serzh Sargsyan was re-elected for another term in unfair elections. Demonstrations grew gradually causing concerns among the administration officials, so much that President Sargsyan sanctioned invasion of the city by the Armenian army.
APCs and tanks along with heavily armed forces occupied the central streets of Yerevan, eventually leading to the inevitable clashes between government forces and the protesters. At least 10 peaceful protesters were shot and killed by the government forces on March 2, 2008, causing an international outrage. The government declared a 20-day state of emergency. The opposition denounced the brutality of Sargsyan government and its heavy-handed policies against civilians.