Thousands protest Armenia govt over Karabakh crisis
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.
Republic Square in Yerevan now. The main demand of those gathered was Pashinyan’s resignation. pic.twitter.com/gFnU7JS0J1— Sprinter (@Sprinter99800) September 20, 2023
A large number of security forces are being gathered in the center of Yerevan— Sprinter (@Sprinter99800) September 20, 2023
Another restless night is expected in front of the Armenian government building. pic.twitter.com/k40gtvV4YM
"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."