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Thousands Rally In Yerevan For Karabakh


Armenia - Opposition supporters rally in Yerevan, September 2, 2023.
Armenia - Opposition supporters rally in Yerevan, September 2, 2023.

The Armenian opposition rallied thousands of supporters in Yerevan at the weekend to show support for Nagorno-Karabakh’s population blockaded by Azerbaijan and demand Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s resignation.

The rally organized by the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) and joined by other major opposition parties as well as former Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Robert Kocharian was timed to coincide with the 32nd anniversary of the proclamation of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. It came amid a worsening humanitarian crisis in the Armenian-populated region resulting from the nearly nine-month Azerbaijani blockade of the Lachin corridor.

“Today the heroic people of Artsakh are putting up unprecedented resistance,” Dashnaktsutyun leader Ishkhan Saghatelian told the crowd rallying in Yerevan’s Liberty Square. “The Armenian mother, with her hungry child in her arms, refuses the food offered by the enemy and declares that this struggle is a struggle for identity, for dignity, for living in the native land and for self-determination.”

Echoing Russian Foreign Ministry statements, Saghatelian claimed that Pashinian paved the way for the blockade with his recognition of Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh. Pashinian has no popular mandate to make such a concession to Baku, he said, branding the Armenian premier as a European Union “puppet.”

Armenia - Opposition leader Ishkhan Saghatelian speaks during a rally in Yerevan, September 2, 2023.
Armenia - Opposition leader Ishkhan Saghatelian speaks during a rally in Yerevan, September 2, 2023.

“All mediating countries and international organizations should bear in mind that the person with whom they are negotiating today and who speaks on behalf of Armenia does not represent the Armenian people and any agreement reached with him is null and void,” added Saghatelian.

Saghatelian went on to promise renewed opposition protests aimed at scuttling a “treasonous” peace deal with Azerbaijan and removing Pashinian from power. “Our next meeting will not come too late,” he told the demonstrators without giving any dates.

Armenia’s main opposition groups jointly staged daily protests in Yerevan in May and June 2022 after Pashinian signaled readiness to “lower the bar” on Karabakh’s status acceptable to his government. They claim to have delayed a “capitulation agreement” with Baku despite failing to topple him.

Dashnaktsutyun vowed to launch another protest movement after Pashinian explicitly recognized Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan in May this year. Saghatelian spoke on Saturday of “active discussions taking place in the opposition camp” for that purpose.

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