Pashinian said, meanwhile, that the “civil disobedience” campaign launched by the country’s leading opposition forces on May 1 has failed to attract public support.
“This is not against the authorities anymore, this is against the public,” he said of the protests involving blockages of major streets and government buildings.
“They [the opposition forces] have the following logic: ‘You don’t join us, so you should spend more time in traffic jams, we will cause you more inconvenience,’” he added during the Armenian government’s question-and-answer session in the parliament.
Pashinian addressed the National Assembly hours after opposition leaders and their supporters blocked the entrances to the presidential palace and the adjacent building of Armenia’s Security Council for nearly three hours. Riot police pushed back back some of the protesters who tried to scale a fence surrounding the palace.
President Vahagn Khachaturian, who was installed by the government-controlled parliament earlier this year, was not in the building. He is currently attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The opposition launched the campaign after Pashinian indicated last month his readiness to “lower the bar” on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh acceptable to Armenia.” Opposition leaders say the premier is prepared to help Azerbaijan regain full control over Karabakh.
“We have at least managed to thwart a timetable through which the authorities planned to surrender the country,” one of them, Ishkhan Saghatelian, told reporters on Wednesday.
Saghatelian said he remains confident that the opposition will succeed in forcing Pashinian to step down. It will “keep up the tempo and step up the pressure” on the government, he said.
Later in the day, a larger number of opposition supporters rallied in Yerevan’s southern Shengavit district before marching to the city center where the opposition set up a tent camp on May 1.