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Armenian Deputy PM Warns Opposition Against Coup Attempt


Deputy Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Avinian (archive photo)

Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinian has warned Armenia’s opposition against attempting a coup hours before a group of political parties critical of the government plans to hold a rally in Yerevan to demand Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s resignation.

In an interview with Public Television last night Avinian did not rule out that the current government will resign, but stressed that they will not allow a coup.

Political tensions grew in Armenia on November 10 after Pashinian signed a Russian-brokered truce with Azerbaijan putting an end to more than six weeks of fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh.

The deal envisaging Armenian concessions in the region was perceived by many as an act of surrender, which triggered a night of street disturbances in the Armenian capital of Yerevan during which the country’s parliament speaker was attacked and injured by a mob.

Thousands of angry protesters stormed government buildings and parliament, with some demanding that Yerevan’s signature be recalled from the document announced early on Tuesday by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia.

Mobs ransacked offices and smashed windows in an outburst of anger. They also broke into the prime minister’s residence but found no one inside. Pashinian said later that his residence was looted by the intruders.

The protests unfolded against the backdrop of a demand by 17 opposition parties for Pashinian to step down.

The loose alliance that also includes the main parliamentary opposition Prosperous Armenia Party plans to reiterate the demand at a rally on Wednesday.

Armenia’s police issued a warning yesterday that in conditions of the continuing martial law, organizing, holding and participating in rallies is banned in the country.

Avinian also warned that there will be no tolerance towards those political forces that “try to catch fish in murky waters in conditions of martial law.”

“I would like to remind you that in the 1990s, when Azerbaijan was plunged into internal political turmoil, the Armenian army used that opportunity quite effectively. I want to assure all the political forces that are trying to catch fish in murky waters in conditions of martial law that there will be no tolerance in this matter. The Republic of Armenia, our statehood are above all, above everyone’s ambitions,” the deputy prime minister said.

He said that the time for looking for those responsible in a domestic political process will still come. “There will definitely be a turn for our internal political discourse about who is to blame and who is responsible. If necessary, this government will go, a new government will be elected, but our team and I personally cannot allow any coup attempts,” Avinian said.

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