Yerevan, Armenia ( Associated Press) – Thousands of protesters blocked streets and gathered around government buildings in the Armenian capital on Wednesday, demanding the prime minister’s resignation over a formal peace deal with neighboring Azerbaijan.
Protesters used cement mixers and trucks to block roads and bridges leading to the center of Yerevan. They marched with the slogan “Armenia without Nikol”, referring to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. There were clashes with the police and several arrests were made.
Anti-government protests have been taking place almost daily since April 17. The prime minister became a new target of rancor after speaking in parliament about the need to sign a peace deal with Azerbaijan.
The two countries have clashed for decades over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but under Armenian control since the early 1990s. During the six-week war in 2020, Azerbaijan regained control of some territory before signing a Russia-broker deal with Armenia.
“We can talk about only one thing with the authorities – their immediate departure,” said opposition politician Ishkhan Saghtelian, deputy speaker of the country’s parliament. He called on all Armenians to join the civil disobedience and continue the daily protests.
Police arrested some of the demonstrators, and security officials warned them against attempting to attack Parliament House, but they gathered outside, as well as near the Interior Ministry and elsewhere in the capital. Inside parliament, opposition politicians demanded Pashinyan’s resignation in his presence. He said that he would address the complaints, but before he could do so, the opponents staged a walkout.