Decision 2013: Hovannisian tours regions as part of his BAREVolution campaign

Decision 2013: Hovannisian tours regions as part of his BAREVolution campaign

Photolure

Opposition leader Raffi Hovannisian, who is disputing President Serzh Sargsyan’s official reelection, made a five-stop tour of provinces on Saturday visiting major towns and areas where he garnered considerable support in the Monday ballot.


In Ashtarak, Vanadzor and Gyumri Hovannisian and his team held public rallies attracting thousands of local people, urging them to come to Yerevan on Sunday for a big gathering in Liberty Square to push for a power change.



Hovannisian, who believes himself to be the rightful winner of the presidential election despite his officially announced preliminary score of close to 37 percent as opposed to Sargsyan’s count of about 59 percent, said on Friday that all of his offers of compromise, including a repeat election and snap parliamentary polls, had been rejected by the incumbent president.

Addressing his supporters at the Saturday rallies the opposition leader said that his campaign (already dubbed by many as BAREVolution, a blend Armenian/English word meaning the revolution of greetings) could last “a week, a month or a year”, but he assured the people that he would not give it up.

Like in his earlier public speeches in Yerevan, Hovannisian again stressed that this time around the demand for the transfer of power would be carried out exclusively by a constitutional and peaceful way. At the same time, he warned police and other state authorities against putting pressure on people.

Concerns were voiced in all places that roads leading to Yerevan would be blocked on Sunday, making travel for thousands of Hovannisian supporters from the region to the capital impossible.

“We will register all such violations,” emphasized Hovannisian, addressing his supporters in Gyumri, where he polled up to 70 percent of the vote last Monday.

“But I will be coming here again any way,” he added, drawing cheers from the enthused crowd.

The police issued a statement earlier on Saturday, warning that Hovannisian rallies and meetings in all towns, including in Aparan and Spitak, were "unauthorized" and therefore "unlawful", as will be the rally planned in Yerevan for Sunday. The opposition leader and his team, however, have rejected this view, saying that the people are simply exercising their right to freedom of assembly.