Armenian opposition holds rally on central square, pushes for peaceful revolution (Update 1)

For the first time in three years backers of the Armenian National Congress opposition movement held a rally on Yerevan’s central Liberty Square, a RIA Novosti correspondent said on Thursday.

The downtown square was closed in 2008 when ten people were killed in clashes after presidential elections. But during today’s meeting police did not take any physical measures against the protestors.

“The Armenian National Congress chose the method of a peaceful revolution,” coordinator Levon Zurabyan said, adding that the movement is striving for a “velvet revolution.”

“We will refrain from violence while holding a bloodless revolution,” he said

The Armenian National Congress was set up on August 1, 2008; it comprises about 20 political parties and organizations. The congress is calling for extraordinary presidential and parliamentary elections, the release of political prisoners and protection of citizens’ constitutional rights.

Head of Armenian Nationwide Movement party Aram Manukyan called on the people who gathered on Liberty Square to bridle negative emotions. “[Our] time is still to come. I promise that everything will run according to the rehearsed scenario,” he said.

There is no official information on the number of rally participants, but the opposition says 100,000 have joined the march.

The Armenian National Congress said it would hold rallies every day from March 17 through March 31.

YEREVAN, March 17 (RIA Novosti) 

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