Thousands protest Armenia govt over Karabakh crisis

Thousands protest Armenia govt over Karabakh crisis
2 min read
20 September, 2023
Thousands are demonstrating in the Armenian capital in protest against the government's handling of Nagorno-Karabakh, after Armenian separatists surrendered to Azerbaijan.
Protestors gathered outside the prime minister's office and blocked all nearby streets [Getty]

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.

Protestors who blocked all nearby streets accused the government of abandoning the mainly Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh after separatists surrendered to Azerbaijan's forces.

A day after Azerbaijan launched a military operation in Karabakh, separatist Armenian forces agreed to lay down their arms and hold reintegration talks.

"We are losing our homeland, our people," said 20-year-old musician Sargis Hayats.

Pashinyan "must go, he can't rule the country, he told AFP.

Pashinyan swept to power promising change but a humiliating military defeat to Azerbaijan in 2020 and a dramatic escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh 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, using the Armenian term for Nagorno-Karabakh.

"We will stay here and stage marches," 26-year-old Suren Javulyan said, adding: "If Armenians are united, the enemy will not prevail."