Return to the past is impossible in Armenia, the Prime Minister says.
“Armenia will not return to corruption, political persecutions, political violence and abuse,” PM Nikol Pashinyan said in a March 1 address.
“This day 11 years ago, on March 1, 2008, blood was shed in the center of Yerevan, capital of Armenia,” Pashinyan said, adding that “the then authorities used illegal force against peaceful demonstrators as a result of which eight citizens were killed and two others died later from the injuries received on that day.”
He noted that 11 years after those events it is extremely important for to give a political assessment to what happened.
“And now I consider it necessary to state that the actions of the ruling elite in 2008 were not at all aimed against a target force, a group or an individual: the main and perhaps the only target of such violence and illegalities was the citizen of the Republic of Armenia, our rights, dignity and freedom,” Pashinyan added.
He said March 1, 2008 was not a phenomenon emerged overnight; it was the massive eruption and culmination of long-standing crackdowns, fraud, political killings, persecutions, and arbitrary actions that had oppressed Armenia and its people for many years.
“Those impermissible phenomena emerged soon after the declaration of independence of the Third Republic, when it seemed that democracy was irreversible in our country,” the Prime Minister said.
According to him, these ill-omened memories may arouse concerns and fears that after the non-violent velvet popular revolution of 2018, after the triumph of democracy, Armenia could fall into another cycle of turbulences.
“Today, on March 1, 2019, I want to make it clear that the return to the past is impossible in our country. Armenia will not return to corruption, political persecutions, political violence and abuse,” Pashinyan stated.
He reaffirmed a common commitment to the values of the non-violent velvet popular revolution of spring 2018.
On behalf of the state, Pashinyan then apologized to all victims of March 1, 2008, to "all victims of all political killings that have occurred in Armenia since independence, as well as to all those citizens and political forces subjected to political persecution."
He highlighted the mission to make Armenia a country of law and justice, truth and values, and we will not deviate from that mission in any way.
He added that, unfortunately, cases of illegalities, violations of human rights, and even cases of bribery and violence in today’s Armenia still exist, but assured that “the government will definitely succeed in the fight against lawlessness, rights violations and abuses.”
The unrest that followed the presidential elections of 2008 saw eight civilians and two police killed, many were injured.
Investigation into the events is still under way.