YEREVAN ( Armenpress) — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has addressed the nation on the occasion of the March 1, 2008 events.
In a televised speech, the prime minister said that today, 11 years since the events, it is “extremely important to give a political assessment to what happened”. He said that in 2008, the actions of the then-ruling elite were not at all aimed against an individual power, a group or an individual, but the main and perhaps the only targets of this violence and illegal actions were the citizen of the Republic of Armenia: their rights, their dignity and freedom.
On behalf of the state, Pashinyan apologized to all victims of March 1, 2008, to all victims of political murders that took place in Armenia since independence, to all citizens and political forces who have been subjected to political persecutions.
Below is the full text of the PM’s address:
Proud citizens of the Republic of Artsakh,
Proud Diaspora-based Armenians,
This day 11 years ago, on March 1, 2008, blood was shed in the center of Yerevan, capital of Armenia.
The then authorities used illegal force against peaceful demonstrators as a result of which 8 Armenian citizens were killed and two others died later from the injuries received on that day. Five of the victims had gunshot wounds; three were killed through the use of a special weapon -Cheryomukha-7, one person died as a result of a fracture injury; another was killed with a blunt tool.
11 years after these events, it is extremely important for us 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.
Gor Kloyan, Armen Farmanyan, Tigran Khachatryan, Hovhannes Hovhannisyan, David Petrosyan, Zakar Hovhannisyan, Grigor Gevorgyan, Samvel Haroutunyan, Hamlet Tadevosyan, Tigran Abgaryan were not the only victims of March 1; the use of lethal force affected every citizen of the Republic of Armenia, because the murderer who shot at David Petrosyan did not know that he was specifically killing a man called David Petrosyan, born on April 16, 1974 in Yerevan. The murderer did not know that he was firing at David Petrosyan, but he knew he was firing on a citizen of the Republic of Armenia. Therefore, the shots fired on the victims of March 1 were targeted at each of us.
However, the 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.
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.
I also wish to reaffirm our common commitment to the values of the non-violent velvet popular revolution of spring 2018. As the Head of the Republic of Armenia, I apologize on behalf of the State to all the victims of March 1, 2008, the 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.
I am also apologizing for the fraud fostered and coordinated by the ruling elites, for illegalities, corruption and political murders. I hereby declare that the page of violence is closed in Armenia. This is my understanding of the vote of confidence received from our citizens.
Our mission is to make Armenia a country of law and justice, truth and values, and we will not deviate from that mission in any way.
This does not mean that there are no cases of illegalities, violations of human rights, and even cases of bribery and violence in today’s Armenia. Unfortunately, such instances still exist in our country. But every Armenian citizen should be confident that the government, the Prime Minister is not the sponsor and the coordinator of illegalities, but the opponent instead. We will definitely succeed in the fight against lawlessness, rights violations, abuses; we will expose the crimes committed by the ruling elite, because the people and the government are united, and our unity is invincible and unshakable.
And to demonstrate our unity, our commitment to justice, legality, democracy, and human rights, I invite all of you for a march from Yerevan’s Liberty Square to Myasnikyan’s statue. We will thereby pay tribute to the victims of March 1 and all political killings. We will thereby say a decisive NO to violence, injustice, lawlessness, corruption, electoral fraud and violation of rights.
Therefore, long live freedom, long live the Republic of Armenia, long live the Republic of Artsakh, long live our children and we as we are living and will live in a free and happy Armenia!
Dear compatriots, spring is in the air today, and you have brought this spring to Armenia.