Armenia: Pashinyan plans to run for parliament
Nikol Pashinyan, a 34-year-old opposition newspaper editor currently on trial for allegedly provoking mass riots and defying representatives of state authority, will contest the vote slated for 10 January 2010
When Armenian police dispersed an opposition sit-in on Yerevan’s Liberty Square in the early hours of 1 March 2008 following a bitterly disputed presidential election a little over a week before, supporters of former president Levon Ter-Petrosyan regrouped later in the day close to the French Embassy in the center of the capital. But, with Ter-Petrosyan under effective house arrest, other opposition figures had to lead the protest. One of the main figureheads that day was Nikol Pashinyan, the 34-year-old opposition newspaper editor best known for his trademark firebrand anti-government political rhetoric.
Following the chaos that ensued, Pashinyan, like many other senior opposition figures, went into hiding and didn’t emerge until July earlier this year. Police put him on a list of Armenia’s most-wanted, but failed to locate him let alone arrest the fugitive editor. Meanwhile, Pashinyan published many articles and diatribes against the government in opposition newspapers or distributed in the true spirit of samizdat online via blogs. Although the radical activist, who had openly espoused revolution as the only way to remove the president from power, had made previous promises to materialize in public, few expected him to actually do so.
However, on 1 July 2009, Pashinyan surprised many by turning up at the Prosecutor-General’s office in Yerevan. A statement posted on his website a week earlier stated that he would do so to become a “political prisoner” following the announcement of a general amnesty in connection with the 1 March 2008 disorder by the authorities the same month. “They will arrest and I will be remanded in custody,” he nevertheless told journalists covering his unexpected return. “They will then sentence me to as many years in prison as possible and I will continue my struggle in prison.”
- 12.10.09 / 5pm by Onnik
- Armenia, Armenia Presidential Election 2008, Candidates, Democracy, Demonstrations, News Briefs, Police, Rallies, Revolution, State of Emergency