YEREVAN (RFE/RK)–The chief of the Armenian police, Alik Sargsian, warned on Wednesday opponents of Armenia’s leadership against staging the kind of a revolt that brought down the government in Kyrgyzstan.
“That is not possible in Armenia,” Sargsian said. “Anyone would be naïve and short-sighted to think about doing that. People had better wage their struggle in a civilized and calm manner.”
“I wouldn’t advise anyone to even harbor such thoughts,” he told a news conference. “They will be nipped in the bud if they try to change anything by revolutionary means.”
“I won’t allow 100 or 2,000 people to gather somewhere and decide to smash government buildings,” he added.
More than 80 people were killed and hundreds of others were injured in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek last week in vicious clashes between security forces and opponents of the Central Asian state’s president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev. He was forced to flee to the country’s south after the protesters seized and ransacked key government buildings there.
Sargsian 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 is seeing things correctly.”
The largest opposition force, the Armenian National Congress, criticized the bloody popular uprising in Kyrgyzstan on Thursday, while drawing parallels between Bakiyev’s regime and the authorities in Yerevan. A Congress leader told RFE/RL’s Armenian service 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 Armenian National Congress leader Levon Ter-Petrosian barricaded themselves in the city center at the time. Ten people were killed and over 200 others wounded when security forces tried to disperse them.
Sargsian also spoke out against bloodless and peaceful revolutions that took place in several ex-Soviet republics, including Kyrgyzstan, in 2003-2005. He claimed that they were organized by unspecified “very big countries” and led to “anarchy.” “Let nobody be enticed by those ‘color’ revolutions,” said the police chief.