Protesters in Karabakh Demand Resignation of Head of Police and National Security Service

Karabakh State Minister Ara Harutyunyan and opposition Member of Parliament Hayk Khanumyan addressed the protesters at a rally in Stepanakert on June 3. CivilNet reports from Stepanakert.

[Translation of speeches at rally in Stepanakert]

SPEAKER 1 – Protest Organizer Davit Simonyan

Dear Prime Minister, the people’s purpose is this: that is the removal of the power agencies because those structures use force against the people. The people demand that they be removed. We want justice to be restored in Artsakh – in the villages, in the city, everywhere. People want to live happy, without fear. When a person has a need from you, please accept them as a person dear to you because you should be at the people’s side. This is how we see things.

SPEAKER 2 – Karabakh State Minister Arayik Harutyunyan

Dear citizens, sisters and brothers, I want to greet you all. Of course, in the last few days in our country, we have seen that an environment has been created in which the people have expressed justified grievances. And among those grievances is the inept or insufficient work of certain officials, including mine. I’m saying this because every official has bad qualities and good qualities and it is not possible to solve all problems. The problems can be divided into few parts. The youth here today is presenting demands about the power agencies and the mistakes that they have allowed in past years. And we also have amongst us people who have gathered because they have suffered not as a result of the mistakes of the power structures, including governmental structures.

We accept that there are many unresolved problems. And I want to assure you that there is a strict order from the President to all of the members of the government, to all officials, to take into account all justified grievances and demands, and to respond to them. In addition, a working group has been created in the National Assembly, because this shouldn’t just be the responsibility of the Executive Branch, which will address past and present grievances and demands and mistakes.

There is one thing I can assure you of. From now on, the work of all government ministries and officials will be more transparent, more people-focused. This is specifically because one of the main grievances is that officials do not engage and interact with the people as much as they should and so many problems are not solved immediately, or when possible. I also want to assure you that following my meeting with the President, I want to meet with the group of activists so that you can set forth your specific demands. But I want to say something else. All of us here are sisters and brothers. If there is a problem, objective or subjective, we have to solve it together. And I also urge you to strengthen civic culture, whether it’s through civil society, or through daily interactions with officials. I promise that I will frequently meet with the core group of activists. So in this way let’s enhance our relationship and strengthen our country.

I want to encourage you all to remain first and foremost peaceful. And do not think that in our nation you can create divisions, pro-government and against, because only minutes and hours after that we will be obliged to sit together again and to look towards one path. And I say this again. If there are unresolved issues because of us, I ask your forgiveness. But we are ready and have the orders of the President to look into those issues and to try to find solutions to all of your grievances where possible. And regarding the specific demands we will talk with you.

SPEAKER 3 – Opposition Member of Parliament Hayk Khanumyan

Dears, this movement has already had one success, which we, as opposition members of the National Assembly, have not been able to achieve in the last three years. We have always talked about the various problems that exist, but those discussions have often not reached you, the people. I hope that all of this will result in the opening of various platforms, in transparent work. So that you can see what happens to the taxes that you pay, where they go, how it’s spent. You should see this through the work of the National Assembly as well as through the work of other agencies people should demand and receive accountability from the government.

In reality, a lot has changed, our public has changed. I believe that the environment in Armenia has impacted our public

And in reality I think the public has matured more than the authorities; today the public has matured more than the entire political elite. I hope that all of this results in the elite catching up with the public. In other words, there is an understanding that we must work transparently and immediately free ourselves of those officials who work outside the law or at least close the access to illegal activity. I think what you all did was a large accomplishment, and I’m saying that in these two days, you have done more work than we have in the past 3 years, speaking from different positions and platforms because this has had a much larger effect on the decision makers compared to the years of speaking and making demands. Thank you to everyone.

SPEAKER 4 – Protest Organizer Davit Simonyan

Excuse us, you all stay, get happy, “Dukhov” know that we will reach justice.

We have created a 6 person group, we are going to the president, with our demands, asking for solutions once and for all. The State Minister announced that the General Commander, the head of the state, President Bako Sahakyan, will give us the solutions to these problems. The State Minister was standing 5 meters to my right. I told him, I asked him, please wait 5 minutes, I will personally come and join them as they decide what time we will meet with the president to state these same demands: justice, and all other propositions that we will propose to the president. Our demands will be the same: justice, resignations of all power agencies, they are all going to resign; all of the authorities that have misused their power, we demand their resignation. And then, people, we are going to go peacefully back to our homes.