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Dozens Detained At Anti-Government Protest In Yerevan


Armenia -- Riot police detain an anti-government protester in Yerevan, February 23, 2021.

Dozens of members and supporters of an Armenian opposition alliance were detained on Tuesday as they attempted to stop Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian from entering a government building in Yerevan.

The Homeland Salvation Movement alliance had urged supporters to surround the building that houses several government ministers as part of its ongoing campaign of street protests aimed at forcing Pashinian to resign.

The high-rise was cordoned off in the morning by scores of riot police that kept protesters at bay and enabled Pashinian to enter it and hold a meeting with senior officials from the Armenian Ministry of Environment.

More than 50 protesters were detained on the spot. Gegham Manukian, a senior opposition figure, claimed that the police made more than 100 arrests.

Manukian said security forces tried unsuccessfully to detain Ishkhan Saghatelian, who coordinates the opposition movement’s day-to-day activities. “We didn’t let them do that,” he told reporters.

According to eyewitnesses, Saghatelian was injured in an apparent scuffle with the riot police.

Armenia -- Riot police cordon off a government building during an opposition protest, Yerevan, February 23, 2021.
Armenia -- Riot police cordon off a government building during an opposition protest, Yerevan, February 23, 2021.

Manukian insisted that the latest opposition protest was not a failure. He argued that Pashinian had to “bring in several thousand police officers to be able to walk 200 meters in the city.”

The Homeland Salvation Movement, which comprises more than a dozen opposition parties, blames Pashinian for Armenia’s defeat in the autumn war in Nagorno-Karabakh and wants him to resign. The prime minister has rejected the opposition demands, leading the alliance to resume its anti-government protests on Saturday.

Saghatelian and other opposition leaders have pledged to hold daily demonstrations this week in a bid to step up the pressure on Pashinian. They and their supporters were due to again march through the center of Yerevan later on Tuesday.

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