'Nikol has to leave, and then we'll talk,' opposition leaders say On Wednesday, protesters in Yerevan were able to reach the country's parliament building. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, whose resignation is being sought by the protesters, spoke there. However, the opposition does not plan to discuss anything with him
How was the protest action
On Wednesday, May 4, opposition actions continued in Armenia. The protesters demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, whom they consider guilty of “surrendering” Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan.
In the afternoon, the protesters in Yerevan gathered on France Square, which is crossed by several main highways of the Armenian capital, and moved northwest, along Marshal Baghramyan Avenue. With the beginning of the procession, the square was empty, only tents remained on it. The avenue was blocked by protesters. From the avenue, the procession led by the former head of the National Security Council of Armenia, one of the leaders of the opposition Artur Vanetsyan turned towards Derenik Demirchyan Street, at the intersection with which the country's parliament is located, but the procession was blocked by law enforcement officers. Stopping, the protesters began to chant slogans, one of the main ones was “Armenia without Nikola.” Other slogans were addressed to the police — they were shouted that each of them was a brother or a distant relative of the demonstrators.
About an hour later, the police opened traffic along Demirchyan Street, the opposition moved along it from the parliament building. The protesters reached the building of the country's Foreign Ministry, located in the southern part of the center of Yerevan, where they hoisted the flag of Nagorno-Karabakh. Some of the protesters tried to enter the building of the ministry, but they were not allowed in.
The police have not yet given an estimate of the number of protesters. According to local media estimates, several thousand people took part in the action. News Agency “Novosti-Armenia” reported small skirmishes between protesters and police and arrests.
How the protesters assess their capabilities
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Protests in Armenia continue for about two weeks, they were provoked by Pashinyan's words about the need to “lower the bar of expectations”; on the issue of ownership of Nagorno-Karabakh, but the protests took on a large-scale character only in early May. On the 1st, the opposition announced the start of actions of disobedience and pitched tents in France Square, and the next day it began to block the streets in the center and highways leading from the capital to the airport and other cities of the country.
Artur Vanetsyan said RBC that protests are taking place throughout the country. When asked how he sees a solution to the Karabakh problem, he replied: “Nikol Pashinyan must leave, and after that we will talk about everything.” To criticism of the opposition about the absence of constructive proposals for solving the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, he replied: “And with whom to discuss constructive proposals? With those who surrendered Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh. — RBC), with those who do nothing for Armenia, for Artsakh? These are incomprehensible people.
One of the protesters, Armen, says that he sees a “capitulatory smell” in Pashinyan’s actions: “The war in Artsakh was lost precisely because of Pashinyan and his actions. He constantly lies to us, both about negotiations with the Azerbaijanis and about the prisoners who have not yet returned home. Another participant in the protests in Yerevan, Levon, agrees with him. he is sure that as a result of the protests, the Armenians will get a new prime minister.
In late 2020 and early 2021, Vanetsyan and other oppositionists have already held protests against the policies of Prime Minister Pashinyan. However, they failed to achieve his resignation, and in the early parliamentary elections in June 2021, the Prime Minister's party “Civil Contract” received 53.9% of the votes, the bloc “Armenia” ex-president Robert Kocharyan— 21.9% of the votes, and Vanetsyan “I have the honor” & mdash; 5.2%.
Ex-president Robert Kocharyan and his son Levon have now also joined the protests. Levon Kocharyan was briefly detained on 3 May. Several protesters interviewed by an RBC correspondent found it difficult to answer whether they were ready to consider Kocharyan a politician capable of resisting Pashinyan. “We get the feeling that the opposition cannot rally for larger actions. Same Place de France— a small place in the territory, and even then it is not filled to the end, & mdash; said one of the protesters.
Photo: Hrant Getadaryan/RBC
While the protesters were protesting outside the parliament building, Prime Minister Pashinyan spoke to the deputies inside the building. MP from the ruling party “Civil Contract” Vahagn Aleksanyan asked the prime minister's opinion on the protests. Pashinyan called democracy the main international brand of Armenia and promised to keep it. “But this does not mean that there are no lines, crossing which democracy will not reserve the right to act, using all its legal, legal, institutional mechanisms, and with all its might and rigor,” — continued the head of government (quoted by News.am). He also denied accusations of the failure of negotiations with Azerbaijan. President Serzh Sargsyan failed them in 2018, which he then announced, Pashinyan believes.
In November 2020, a military conflict began between Azerbaijan and Armenia (the second Karabakh war). The hostilities were ended by a joint statement by Pashinyan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russian peacekeepers were brought into the conflict zone, and Azerbaijan received a significant part of the territories of Nagorno-Karabakh, including the city of Shushi, and the areas adjacent to it, previously controlled by the Armenian side. The parties also pledged to start negotiations on unblocking transport communications in the region.
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