The rally, initiated by the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan on the Republic Square, started with the national anthem and with a minute of silence, in memory of the heroes killed in the last Artsakh (Karabakh) war. The gathered observed a minute of silence in memory of the victims of the March 1 riots, happened on this day 13 years ago.
“I know that speculations have started from various places that there are so-called brought people in this square. There is one way to refer to that fact, there is one way to answer that question - the unity of the square: how people participate and communicate with the platform from the first row to the last one. We must show that we are and we will be together as proud, victorious, optimistic and happy citizens of the Republic of Armenia as we have been”, Pashinyan said.
He noted that this year Armenians meet March 1 in a completely different situation. Heavy consequences of the second war in Artsakh, the fact of thousands of victims and the missing of many people, propaganda of violence, attempts to involve the Armed Forces and judiciary in political process have set new challenges that have security, regional, foreign policy, internal political nature, and the future of our people depends on their management.
“We have now reached a point where we are consuming our chances of making mistakes. In the 30 years of our independence, we have made all the possible mistakes in theory and in practice. In the last two years and ten months, we have made all the possible mistakes as well. I mean our government, it's about me personally. And I want to apologize to all of you: the citizens of Armenia, the citizens of Artsakh, the Armenians of the Diaspora.
I have thought a lot about where I went wrong. Specific cases can be listed, but what is more important - why did we make a mistake? As it may seem strange, one of the biggest reasons for our mistakes has been our popularity as a government. We were so loved that seeking to justify that popular love and our love for the homeland, we wanted to do everything accurately and perfectly. The search for perfection in many cases has led to inactivity. Sometimes, due to the situation, it was inevitable to choose between the bad and the worst but we refused to make that choice, thinking that the people brought us to power so that we made a choice between the good and the best”, the Prime Minister said. He added that, nevertheless, not only this government made mistakes; he apologized on behalf of all the governments of the Third Republic of Armenia.
“But we, the proud citizens of the Republic of Armenia, will never give up in our struggle for a free and happy Armenia. We will have so much will and perseverance, so much love and determination that we will work retrospectively based on the mistakes we have made since independence. Not only will we redouble our efforts to have a happy and powerful country, but also we will do our best to make those efforts effective”, Pashinyan said.
“We talk about mistakes, but it does not mean that we haven’t had any achievements,” he said, emphasizing that “our greatest promise should be to preserve and protect those achievements”.
“One of the achievements that we have is the power of the people, the people’s the right to form an authority. All the crises, that we have, must be solved not at the expense of the constitutional power of the people, but on the contrary, by re-establishing the power of the people. The people’s right to form an authority should not be endangered by anything; on the contrary, it should be strengthened. In other words, only the people of Armenia must decide who will rule.
This is the core of our current crisis. They want to take power away from the people, and we have gathered to say that we will not allow it. We will not allow this achievement, gained as a result of decades of struggle and hardship, to be destroyed, and you, the people, the citizens of the Republic of Armenia, will continue to be the highest authority in Armenia as you were. It does not matter who will stand here as a leader addressing the people. They can only be one, whom the people choose by their free, proud, sovereign will. We will not allow any other way of reaching power,” Pashinyan emphasized.