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Parliament Speaker Injured In Riots Over Karabakh Deal As Political Tensions Grow In Armenia


Armenian Parliament Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan (archive photo)

Armenian Parliament Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan has been hospitalized with injuries after being attacked by a crowd of protesters angered by the news of a Russia-brokered deal with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh perceived by them as surrender, a government official said.

Edurad Aghajanian, a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office, wrote on Facebook: “He [Ararat Mirzoyan] suffered injuries that luckily are not life-threatening.”

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian also confirmed in a live broadcast on Facebook that Mirzoyan’s life is not in danger at this moment. He said the parliament speaker was undergoing surgery.

“Ararat Mirzoyan is one of the people who accepted or rather did not accept the decision [to sign a deal] with tears in his eyes. There is no person in our political team who did not cry upon learning about that decision. And now some scoundrels have attacked Ararat Mirzoyan and his child,” Pashinian said.

“We must prepare for revenge. We haven’t dealt properly with the corrupt, oligarchic scoundrels, those who robbed this country, stole soldiers’ food, stole soldiers’ weapons. I apologize for that, and I call on all the citizens who understand what is happening to prepare for revenge,” Pashinian said.

The prime minister also said that he was thinking of organizing a rally in the near future.

“Those who have sold their homeland, those who have sold the liberated lands for money will not succeed, it is excluded. Your mansions will be returned to the people. I call on citizens with dignity to be ready for us going after the rioters and their bosses, after the corrupt part of Dashnaktsutyun, after the robbers from the [former ruling] Republican Party of Armenia, the Prosperous Armenia Party, the deserters from the Hayrenik party who left their combat positions and fled, and must be tried for desertion,” he charged.

The four political parties mentioned by Pashinian were among 17 others that issued a joint statement on November 9 calling for Pashinian’s resignation amid what appeared to be a series of military defeats suffered by Armenia-backed ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh fighting against Azerbaijan.

Hours later Pashinian signed a deal with Azerbaijan brokered by Russia to put an end to fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, triggering protests.

Over the night groups of angry protesters stormed the government and parliament buildings in Yerevan.

Pashinian called on those people not involved in the riots to go home.

In remarks on Facebook Pashinian implied that corruption in previous governments was also to blame for the current situation.

“All those who are responsible, including myself if I am responsible, will be held to account,” he said.

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