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Armenian ruling elite using martial law to stop protests

The Armenian parliament rejected the opposition parties’ proposal to abolish martial law introduced on September 27.

Although the hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh have ceased, the ruling bloc asserts that “there is a threat of renewed war.” Sources in Yerevan told Kommersant they are convinced that the real reason for such a decision is completely different. The authorities need martial law in order to have a legal basis to disperse protest rallies.

“The refusal of the ruling elite and Nikol Pashinyan to abolish martial law is for one goal only: to hold on to power by any means in order to curb popular discontent with the limitations of martial law. Besides the shameful defeat that they led the country to, the ruling elite’s departure is now a matter of state security. Nikol Pashinyan must leave,” Arman Abovyan, secretary of the “Prosperous Armenia” parliamentary faction, told Kommersant.

Political scientist Hrant Mikaelian agrees with the opposition’s point of view:

“Pashinyan is pursuing martial law in order to be able to legally arrest opponents and disperse rallies in order to hold on to power,” he told Kommersant.

Meanwhile, the ruling bloc admitted that armed clashes may erupt again. “Although the ceasefire declaration signed by the three presidents put an end to the full-scale war, the situation in the conflict zone is still largely unstable. In light of the fact that many issues have yet to be resolved, various incidents periodically arise, and provocations in the conflict zone are possible,” Mikael Zolyan, a deputy from the “My Step” alliance, told Kommersant.

Source: Kommersant via TASS