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Opposition Leader Threatens ‘Uprising’


Armenia -- Opposition leader Vazgen Manukian meets with opposition supporters in Ararat, January 26, 2021.

The Homeland Salvation Front should stage an anti-government “uprising” if it fails to topple Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian with conventional street protests, a leader of the alliance of 17 Armenian opposition parties said on Tuesday.

“We are now following the constitutional path in trying to kick out Nikol Pashinian,” Vazgen Manukian told hundreds of opposition supporters in the southern town of Ararat. “If the constitutional path proves fruitless we should organize an uprising.”

“This is a natural right of the people. It is enshrined in the U.S. declaration of independence which says that if the government fails to fulfill its obligations the people have a right to revolt,” he said.

“At stake is the future of our country and people. We will either get destroyed or move forward,” added Manukian.

Speaking to journalists after the indoor meeting, Manukian explained that the uprising favored by him would involve nonviolent seizures of government buildings.

It was not clear if the comments reflected only his personal views or also those of the parties making up the alliance. Manukian was nominated by them late last year to serve as a prime minister in an interim government which they believe should be formed after Pashinian’s resignation.

The opposition alliance blames Pashinian for Armenia’s defeat in the war with Azerbaijan stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire on November 10. It staged a series of demonstrations later in November and December in a bid to force him to resign. The protests did not attract large crowds.

The alliance coordinator, Ishkhan Saghatelian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service on Monday that the opposition forces are now exploring a “new tactic” for their push for regime change.

Pashinian has rejected the opposition demands and offered to hold fresh parliamentary elections instead. The opposition says that such polls must take place only after his resignation.

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