Մատչելիության հղումներ

Anti-Government Protests Continue In Armenia


Demonstrators at a rally in Yerevan demand the resignation of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. November 13, 2020.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Yerevan’s central Liberty Square on Friday for the fourth day of anti-government protests sparked by Armenia’s truce agreement with Azerbaijan signed mostly on Baku’s terms following a bloody six-week war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Representatives of nearly two dozen opposition parties demand that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian resign over what they view as an act of surrender.

Under the terms of the Russian-brokered deal, by December Armenian forces are to gradually withdraw from three districts held since the 1994 ceasefire agreement, while Azerbaijan will keep the territory in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas captured during the conflict.

Armenians will also forfeit the Lachin region, where a crucial road connects Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. The agreement calls for a 5-kilometer wide area in the so-called Lachin Corridor to remain open and be protected by around 2,000 Russian peacekeepers.

The agreement also calls for Russian border services to monitor a new transport corridor through Armenia connecting Azerbaijan to its western exclave of Nakhijevan, which is surrounded by Armenia, Iran, and Turkey.

Under the timetable of withdrawals Armenian forces are due to leave the first of the three districts, Kalbajar, by November 15.

The road leading from Kalbajar to the Armenian town of Vardenis is full of trucks these days as thousands of Armenians who have lived in the district for decades are trying to move their belongings to Armenia.

Armenians pack their belongings as they leave their house in the town of Kalbajar, November 12, 2020
Armenians pack their belongings as they leave their house in the town of Kalbajar, November 12, 2020

An RFE/RL Armenian Service correspondent witnessed local residents dismantling roofs, doors and whatever else they could from their houses to take with them to Armenia. One resident explained that the construction materials would help them build some makeshift housing in Armenia and somehow survive the coming winter.

Some videos posted on social media also show some residents in Kalbajar burning their houses before leaving their villages.

Speakers at tonight’s rally in Yerevan accused Pashinian of “handing over Artsakh (the Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabakh)” to Azerbaijan. They said he must resign as soon as possible so that “some points of the document could be renegotiated.”

Armenian Prime Minster Nikol Pashinian
Armenian Prime Minster Nikol Pashinian

Meanwhile, in an interview with Armenia’s Public Television on Friday Prime Minister Pashinian responded to some of the criticism heard from his opponents.

Opposition parties, in particular, criticize Pashinian for keeping the public in the dark about the document that he was going to sign with Azerbaijan despite his earlier promise that any document on Nagorno-Karabakh would first be discussed with people.

“I want to draw the attention of everyone to the fact that this is a document on the cessation of hostilities. This is not a document about a political settlement, and there are terms, sentences that need to be interpreted to become political content. And it is at that stage that discussions will become possible, and these discussions will take place,” Pashinian said.

The police detained several demonstrators during the Friday rally at the end of which the opposition promised to continue street protests.

Armenian law-enforcement authorities have warned people that political gatherings are banned in conditions of martial law that was put in place at the start of hostilities in late September.

Earlier on Friday several opposition leaders, including Prosperous Armenia Party leader Gagik Tsarukian, Homeland Party leader Artur Vanetsian, Armenian Revolutionary Federation leader Iskhan Saghatelian, Republican Party of Armenia member Eduard Sharmazanov and others were freed by courts after being arrested on charges of organizing mass disorders.

Some of them, including Saghatelian, were later summoned for questioning by the National Security Service.

The opposition parties claim the cases against their leaders and activists are politically motivated.

XS
SM
MD
LG