Sep 21, 2023
Thousands rallied on Wednesday outside Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s office in the Armenian capital Yerevan to protest the government’s handling of the crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh, an AFP reporter saw.
A day after Azerbaijan launched a military operation in Karabakh, separatist Armenian forces agreed to lay down their arms and hold reintegration talks.
Opposition politicians called for Pashinyan’s impeachment, accusing him of abandoning the mainly Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh after separatists surrendered to Azerbaijan’s forces.
“Russia washed its hands in Artsakh, our authorities have renounced Artsakh,” opposition politician Avetik Chalabyan told the crowd, using the Armenian name for Karabakh.
“The enemy is at our doorstep. We must change authorities to change national policy,” he added.
Lawmaker Ishkhan Saghatelyan called on parliamentary opposition forces to launch an impeachment procedure against the premier.
Sargis Hayats, a 20-year-old musician, agreed Pashinyan “must go”.
“We are losing our homeland, our people,” he told AFP.
Pashinyan swept to power promising change, but a humiliating military defeat to Azerbaijan in 2020 and a dramatic escalation in tensions in Nagorno-Karabakh has tarnished his reputation.
The opposition has repeatedly accused Pashinyan of making too many concessions on Karabakh.
“Everyone abandoned Artsakh, my homeland is alone, without help,” 47-year-old Hasmik Manukyan said, crying.
“(The authorities) think Artsakh is an unnecessary burden for Armenia, but it’s not,” he said.
“We will stay here and stage marches,” 26-year-old Suren Javulyan said, adding: “If Armenians are united, the enemy will not prevail.” (AFP)
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