Over a thousand protesters have gathered in Yerevan to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan following the Nagorno-Karabakh peace deal. They are accusing him of being a traitor for signing a truce with Baku.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Pashinyan announced that the country had agreed to end hostilities with Azerbaijan, following a bloody conflict which began in late September. After repeatedly claiming that Armenia was winning the war, he is now coming under attack for what many locals see as a surrender.
On Wednesday afternoon, demonstrators met in the center of Yerevan, chanting “Nikol is a traitor.” Led by politicians from a wide range of opposition parties, the protest has brought together Armenians who disagree with the government’s decision to end the conflict. Eyewitness reports suggest that the police have arrested individual protest leaders, but the participants have continued undeterred. MP Gagik Tsarukyan, the head of Prosperous Armenia, the country’s second-biggest party, was detained by law enforcement.
Earlier this week, the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia signed a joint statement agreeing to a truce in Nagorno-Karabakh. The agreement states that Azerbaijani and Armenian troops must remain in their current positions, an arrangement which is to be enforced by Russian peacekeepers. This means that Baku will keep the areas of Nagorno-Karabakh it regained control of during the conflict. According to Pashinyan, Yerevan had no choice, as the country’s resources were quickly becoming depleted.
On September 27, the frozen conflict suddenly erupted once again. The dispute between Azerbaijan and Armenia is decades old, with both countries believing they have legitimate claims to the territory. The region is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is primarily populated by ethnic Armenians. Baku had always considered the enclave to be illegally occupied by Yerevan.
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