Accessibility links

Police Chief Says Kyrgyz Scenario 'Impossible In Armenia'

YEREVAN -- Armenia's police chief warned the country's opposition leaders against staging the kind of revolt that brought down the government in Kyrgyzstan, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Alik Sarkisian said at a press conference on April 14 that "[such an event] is not possible in Armenia. Anyone would be naive and shortsighted to think about doing that. People had better wage their struggle in a civilized and calm manner."

He said people would be "nipped in the bud if they tried to change anything by revolutionary means. I won't allow 100 or 2,000 people to gather somewhere and decide to smash government buildings."

More than 80 people were killed and hundreds of others injured in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, and other towns on April 6-7 in clashes between security forces and antigovernment protesters.

President Kurmanbek Bakiev was forced to flee to the country's south after protesters seized key government buildings in Bishkek. He left for Kazakhstan on April 15.

Sarkisian noted with satisfaction that Armenia's leading opposition forces favor more "civilized" methods of political struggle.

"In the existing political landscape I don't see a political force that even dreams about effecting regime change in that fashion," he said. "Thank God, our opposition sees things correctly."

The largest opposition force, the Armenian National Congress (HAK), criticized the deadly popular uprising in Kyrgyzstan on April 8 while drawing parallels between Bakiev's regime and the authorities in Yerevan. One HAK leader told RFE/RL last week that the opposition alliance will continue to stick to "constitutional" means in its efforts to unseat President Serzh Sarkisian.

Yerevan was already the scene of deadly clashes between riot police and opposition protesters in the wake of a disputed presidential election held in February 2008.

Thousands of supporters of HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrossian barricaded themselves in the city center at the time. Ten people were killed and more than 200 others wounded when security forces forcibly dispersed them.

Alik Sarkisian also spoke out against bloodless and peaceful revolutions that took place in several ex-Soviet republics, including Kyrgyzstan, between 2003 and 2005. He claimed that they were organized by unspecified "very big countries" and led to "anarchy."

"Let nobody be enticed by those 'colored' revolutions," he said.