On 11 April, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is on a working visit to Strasbourg, participated in the official opening of the photo exhibition entitled “The Velvet Revolution of Armenia” at the Palace of Europe. The exhibition was opened by Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland and President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Liliane Maury Pasquier, reports the news service of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, according to Armenian News-NEWS.am.
Prime Minister Pashinyan gave a speech in which he stated the following:
“Distinguished Mr. Secretary General,
Dear Mrs. President of the Assembly,
Ladies and gentlemen parliamentarians,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to thank you for attending and showing interest in the photo exhibition entitled “The Velvet Revolution in Armenia”, which we have the honor of solemnly opening today at this site which is symbolically named the Home of Democracy and Human Rights.
It has already been exactly a year since I, as an oppositional parliamentarian, launched this people’s movement to make the voice of the people heard, the people who had stood up to say ‘no’ to dictatorship and injustice.
I would receive strength from the solidarity and unbreakable spirit of my compatriots.
I started this march that I called “My step” from Gyumri — the northern and second largest city of Armenia — to Yerevan with only a couple of my supporters.
Passing from one city to the next, we soon became one hundred and then hundreds of thousands. Our march was gaining momentum and it encompassed the entire country very quickly.
Men, women and especially young people, including high school students and university students walked with us and became the driving force for the peaceful civil rebellion. I would particularly like to appreciate the courage of young women who joined us with their strollers and newborn children.
Their excitement and absolute rejection of injustice proved to me once again that my march was the right thing. This pan-national consolidation became a real source of inspiration to fight until the end with the conviction that Victory was going to be ours.
And the people fulfilled their will. Democracy won. The Velvet Revolution of Armenia, which we referred to as the Revolution of Love and Solidarity, originated.
I am certain that many of you followed the different stages of our revolution thanks to the wide coverage provided by foreign presses. I am also certain that the scenes showed here best convey the spirit and indescribable emotions of the event that was exclusive and important for us Armenians.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As I mentioned in my speech at the Assembly a while ago, it is a great honor and pride for us to have the opportunity to celebrate the first anniversary of our Velvet Revolution at the Council of Europe and reaffirm our commitment to the principles and fundamental values of this institution.
This exhibition is a tribute to the courage of mankind and instills hope in those fighting for universal rights and freedoms. This is a gift to democracy and the Council of Europe, which makes its major contributions to the functioning of democratic institutions in Armenia.
I thank you for supporting us and invite you to view the exhibition.”
Among other speakers were President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Liliane Maury Pasquier and Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland. Among the attendees were ambassadors and diplomats accredited to the Council of Europe, members of the PACE, officials of the Secretariat of the Council of Europe, including officials of Armenian descent, as well as representatives of the local Armenian community.