President Serge Sarkisian Breaks Silence After Two-Week Standoff

A day after the surrender by the group “Daredevils of Sasoun,” who occupied a police compound in the Erebuni district of Yerevan from July 17-31, President Serge Sargsyan broke his silence and addressed the crisis that ensued in Armenia.
On August 1, 2016, Sargsyan hosted what his press service called “representatives of the different segments of the society group,” among them cultural figures, medical professional, members of the legislative and executive branches of the government, as well as clergy headed by Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II.
The seizure of the police compound by the “Daredevils of Sasoun” resulted in protests and demonstrations, during which at times thousands of residents were demanding Sarkisian’s resignation, echoing some of the sentiments expressed by the armed group, whose demands also included the release of opposition activist Jirair Sefilian.
Sargsyan said regime change in Armenia through “violent” means was impossible and inadmissible, while claiming that he was committed to expediting “radical changes in Armenia’s social and political life,” without specifying methods or a timetable.
He continually referred to the “Daredevils of Sasoun” as terrorists and vowed that they would be punished through the very legal system whose impartiality and fairness is at the center of citizens’ frustrations.
He praised Armenia’s police, security services and law enforcement, which have been criticized for using excessive brutal force against protesters as recently as Friday, July 29, saying that their “composure and magnanimity” played a role in avoiding bloodshed.
However, he did apologize to journalists for the violence carried out against them during the protests.
He ended his remarks by discussing the Nargorno-Karabagh conflict, asserting that “there will be no unilateral concessions in the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabagh issue. Never! Nagorno Karabagh will never be part of Azerbaijan.”

"Asbarez," August 1, 2016

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