Artur Vanetsian, who leads one of those parties, began a nonstop sit-in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on Sunday evening. He remained camped out there together with a group of loyalists on Monday.
“Nikol Pashinian’s regime is preparing to abandon Artsakh (Karabakh),” Vanetsian said in a video appeal to supporters. “They have started propagating the notion that Artsakh can be a part of Azerbaijan. Unless there is an uprising in Armenia, unless we try to oust Nikol Pashinian’s regime that process will definitely take place.”
Pashinian said last Wednesday that the international community is pressing Armenia to “lower a bit the bar on the question of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status” and recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. He signaled Yerevan’s intention to make such concessions to Baku, fuelling more opposition allegations that he has agreed to Azerbaijani control over Karabakh.
Vanetsian, who headed Armenia’s National Security Service from 2018-2019, pledged to present a more detailed plan of actions late on Monday.
“The objective is clear: so that people gather here in large numbers to take the situation under control,” said Sos Hakobian, the spokesman for his Fatherland party. “No political force, no individual can single-handedly solve very serious problems facing our country.”
Fatherland makes up, together with the former ruling Republican Party (HHK), the Pativ Unem bloc, one of the two opposition forces represented in the Armenian parliament. The HHK did not immediately join Vanetsian’s sit-in.
Leaders of the other parliamentary opposition bloc, Hayastan, voiced support for the protest when they visited Vanetsian in the square on Sunday and Monday. One of them, Aghvan Vartanian, spoke of a “multipolar” opposition push for regime change. He said Hayastan will unveil soon with its own plan of actions.
“This is just the beginning,” Vartanian told reporters. “Every day you will witness such actions across the country. I’m sure that they will be coordinated and will eventually develop into a powerful movement.”