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Armenian Opposition Leader ‘Indicted’


ARMENIA - Opposition leader Vazgen Manukian speaks to a crowd during a rally to pressure Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian to resign in Yerevan, March 1, 2021

Law-enforcement authorities have reportedly brought criminal charges against a veteran Armenian politician who has said that opposition forces trying to topple Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian must be ready to stage an uprising.

Vazgen Manukian made the statement in a speech delivered at a rally held by the Homeland Salvation Movement, an alliance of more than a dozen opposition parties, on February 20.

“At any moment -- it could be today, one week later or ten days later -- we must be ready for revolting and taking power at lightning speed,” said Manukian.

He described that as “Plan B” of the opposition campaign for Pashinian’s resignation involving peaceful protests.

“We will follow Plan A but must always be ready for Plan B,” said the 75-year-old politician whom the opposition alliance wants to head an interim government to be formed after Pashinian’s resignation.

Prosecutors said last week that the authorities have launched a criminal investigation into public calls for a violent overthrow of the government.

A senior member of the Homeland Salvation Movement said on Wednesday that Armenia Investigative Committee has formally leveled such charges against Manukian. He condemned the move as politically motivated.

The Investigative Committee did not immediately confirm the information.

Manukian, who had served as Armenia’s prime minister and defense minister in the early 1990s, first floated the idea of an “uprising” when he met with opposition supporters in late January. His calls have not been officially endorsed by the opposition bloc.

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