Anti-government protests in Armenia over Azerbaijan land switch | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Thousands of Armenians staged an anti-government protest on Sunday, demanding Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation over territorial concessions to arch foe neighbour Azerbaijan.

Issued on:

2 min

Protests erupted within the Caucasus nation final month after the federal government agreed handy over to Baku territory it had managed because the Nineties.

The ceded space is strategically vital for landlocked Armenia as a result of it controls sections of a significant freeway to Georgia.

Armenian residents of close by settlements say the transfer cuts them off from the remainder of the nation and accuse Pashinyan of making a gift of territory with out getting something in return.

On Friday, in a key step towards normalising ties between the rivals — who fought two wars over then-disputed Nagorno Karabakh area — Yerevan returned to Azerbaijan 4 border villages it seized a long time in the past.

An AFP reporter stated a number of thousand folks flooded Yerevan’s central Republic Square in a contemporary protest spearheaded by charismatic archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, a church chief from the Tavush area, the place villages had been handed over to Azerbaijan.

“Our people want to change the bitter reality which was imposed on us,” Galstanyan instructed the group, including that fixing the unstable border with Azerbaijan “must only be carried out after a peace treaty is signed” with Baku.

One of the demonstrators, 67-year-old Artur Sargsyan, stated: “We demand an immediate resignation of Nikol (Pashinyan).”

“I had fought in two wars with Azerbaijan and will not let him give away our lands.”

‘For the sake of change’

Pashinyan defended the territorial concessions as geared toward securing peace with Baku. But they sparked weeks of protests and demonstrators blocked main roads in an try and power him to alter course.

In a televised assertion on Friday night, he stated resolving border disputes with Azerbaijan “is a sole guarantee for the very existence of the Armenian republic within its internationally recognised and legitimate frontier.”

Galstanyan is searching for to launch an impeachment course of towards Pashinyan, a former journalist who was propelled to energy within the wake of peaceable road protests he led in 2018.

The archbishop stated on Sunday that he would resign his clerical workplace to run for prime ministerial publish, and known as for snap parliamentary elections.

“My spiritual service is above all possible posts, but I am ready to sacrifice it for the sake of change in this country,” he instructed the cheering crowd.

He then known as on protesters to march towards Pashinyan’s residence.

Opposition events would require the help of no less than one impartial or ruling get together MP to launch the impeachment course of and success would then hinge on no less than 18 lawmakers from Pashinyan’s personal get together voting to unseat the chief.

Last yr, Azerbaijan recaptured Karabakh in a lightning offensive towards Armenian separatists who had held sway over the mountainous enclave for 3 a long time.

The area’s complete Armenian inhabitants — greater than 100,000 folks — fled to Armenia within the aftermath.