Protesting Armenians Demand Prime Minister’s Resignation

Wed May 15 2024
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YEREVAN: Hundreds of Armenians flooded the streets of the capital Yerevan on Wednesday, rallying against the government’s decision to concede territory to historic rival Azerbaijan, sparking renewed calls for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation.

The protests were ignited by the government’s agreement to hand over control of territories, held since the 1990s, to Baku, leading to widespread discontent across the Caucasus nation.

As Prime Minister Pashinyan addressed an international conference at the Opera House, demonstrators amassed outside the venue, cordoned off by a heavy police presence. The protest, led by charismatic archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, gained momentum, with impassioned calls for Pashinyan to step down.

Expressing frustration, protester Tigran Balasanyan, 54, voiced, “Pashinyan must step down, otherwise Armenia is screwed,” while 60-year-old Nune Sargsyan, a housewife, lamented, “He has failed the country, he must go and give Armenia a chance to rise from its knees.”

Pashinyan’s decision to concede territory to Azerbaijan, ostensibly to secure peace, has sparked weeks of unrest, with demonstrators resorting to road blockades in a bid to compel a change in course.

Galstanyan, representing the Tavush region directly impacted by the concessions, has intensified efforts to instigate an impeachment process against Pashinyan. However, such a move necessitates support from at least one independent or ruling party lawmaker, with success contingent upon the backing of 18 members from Pashinyan’s own party.

The territorial dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan dates back to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which saw two wars fought over control of the breakaway region. Last year, Baku’s forces reclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh from Armenian separatists, ending a three-decade standoff.

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