Protesters Block Roads to Demand Armenian Premier’s Resignation
(Bloomberg) -- Protesters demanding Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation over the defeat in the war against Azerbaijan took to the streets after he ignored an ultimatum to step down.
Police detained 34 people after activists blocked roads in the capital, Yerevan, on Tuesday after the expiry of a noon deadline set by 17 political parties for Pashinyan to resign. Supporters of the prime minister gathered in city’s main Republic Square, as Armenia’s Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan warned against raising political tensions.
Pashinyan, who swept to power in the 2018 “Velvet Revolution,” has faced growing demands to resign since he signed a Nov. 10 truce agreement to halt the 44-day war with Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. The deal brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin required Armenia to withdraw from three Azerbaijani regions following territorial losses in battle and Azerbaijan’s capture of the key city of Shusha, which Armenians call Shushi, inside Nagorno-Karabakh.
The protests are “a coup attempt” by a political minority who want to choose a prime minister without resorting to elections, said Alen Simonyan, vice speaker of parliament.
Pashinyan’s party has an overwhelming majority in parliament, and has rejected calls, including from Armenian President Armen Sarkissian, to hold new elections.
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