Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   21 January

‘Violence must be ruled out during free expression of will’ – President Sarkissian’s exclusive commentary for ARMENPRESS

YEREVAN, APRIL 17, ARMENPRESS. The opinion of every citizen of Armenia is important for the country, however violence, illegal actions and the restriction of rights of others should be ruled out during freedom of expression, President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian said in an exclusive commentary for ARMENPRESS.

“Under the Constitution, parliamentary forces are entitled with nominating a candidate for Prime Minister of Armenia. The opposition can oppose the candidate of the parliamentary majority through its votes.

It is also the right of any political force or citizen to freely express their opinion, approval or disapproval over a given political development, within the circle of their Constitutional rights – be it through a rally, demonstration or other peaceful means.

The right to freedom of speech and free expression of will is one of the most important values of democracy. The opinion of every citizen of the Republic of Armenia is important for the country.

At the same time, violence, illegal actions and restriction of the rights of others must be ruled out during free expression of will.

The security of our country and national solidarity should be a primary and undisputed necessity for all of us.

And,  of course, I would like to once again emphasize that the health and life of every citizen of Armenia, from students, protesters to police officers, is valuable for us,” Sarkissian said in his first commentary to ARMENPRESS news agency as President.

Opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan and his supporters began a sit-in at Yerevan’s France Square from April 13.  In the morning of April 16, the opposition protesters began blocking traffic throughout the city, causing major jams.  The streets were opened in the evening of the same day, but the demonstrators once again shut down busy streets in the morning of April 17.

A brief clash happened between demonstrators and riot police Monday. Six police officers, MP Pashinyan and nearly 4 dozen protesters were hospitalized.

Pashinyan called on his supporters to continue blocking traffic April 17. The opposition politician urged his followers to block governmental buildings and obstruct normal functioning of state agencies.

English –translator/editor: Stepan Kocharyan

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