It sought to step up the pressure on Pashinian in the face of his continuing refusal to hand over power to an interim government following the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.
“We have been growing in number for the last several days and our ranks are joined by more and more decent people,” Artur Vanetsian, the leader of one of the parties making up the Homeland Salvation Movement, told the crowd marching through the city center.
“Together we will very quickly drive Nikol, who is clinging to power, out of the government building and he will be held accountable before the Armenian nation,” said the former director of the country’s National Security Service.
Ishkhan Saghatelian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun), another key member of the opposition grouping, said the protests will continue on a daily basis and end in success soon.
“These demonstrations are multiplying our power and more people are joining us every day,” he claimed. “As a result of these actions, we will set the stage for Nikol’s departure in the coming days. The New Year without Nikol!”
The opposition forces hold Pashinian responsible for the Armenian side’s defeat in the war with Azerbaijan and say he is not capable of confronting new security challenges facing the country. Their demands for his resignation, the formation of an interim government and conduct of fresh parliamentary elections within a year have been backed by President Armen Sarkissian, the Armenian Apostolic Church and prominent public figures in Armenia and its worldwide Diasapora.
Pashinian has rejected these demands. In a televised address to the nation aired on Monday, he insisted that he still has a mandate to govern the country and will quit only in case of a democratic “expression of the people’s will.”
Pashinian met on Tuesday with parliament deputies representing his My Step bloc. Participants of the two-hour meeting said it focused on the current situation in the Karabakh conflict zone and the ruling political team’s plans to amend the Armenian Electoral Code.
One of the pro-government lawmakers, Nazeli Baghdasarian, told reporters that the authorities “do not rule out pre-term elections.” But she would not be drawn on when they might be held.
Baghdasarian also claimed that the opposition does not want the polls to be held soon because it would stand no chance of winning them.