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Armenia: Manukian Says Armenian Government Incited Violence

Yerevan, 27 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Armenia's main opposition presidential candidate, Vazgen Manukian, has accused the government of provoking the violence at the Parliament this week.

"The government failed to prevent the violence Wednesday by not taking preventive actions to stop demonstrators from entering the parliamentary compound in Yerevan. The government used the incident as a pretext for the use of force," Manukian said in a statement today.

Manukian said Armenia is now being governed unlawfully by an un-elected president. The President, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, was the declared winner of last Sunday's presidential vote - but opposition supporters have accused him of interfering in the poll.

Manukian's statement today was read by his wife, Vartuhi, at a press conference in Yerevan. She did not say where he is. There have been some reports that he was detained, but a spokesman, Artak Vardazarian, for the Interior Ministry told our correspondent in Yerevan today he is not aware of any move to arrest Manukian.

There has been no immediate government comment on today's statement by Manukian.

Correspondents are still describing the situation in Yerevan as tense. The army is enforcing a ban on marches and rallies after the assault on the Parliament.