Months-long calls for Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to resign escalated once more on Tuesday, as hundreds of protesters staged the third demonstration in per week demanding he quit over his dealing with of the Nagorno-Karabakh battle with Azerbaijan.
Police cordons had been deployed to guard authorities buildings close to Republic Square within the capital Yerevan, with officers accompanying Pashinyan when he walked from one constructing to one other as demonstrators shouted “traitor!”.
A day earlier, protesters marched to Yerevan’s France Square and blocked a number of adjoining streets, briefly paralysing site visitors within the space.
The demonstrations observe protests final November, which grew after Pashinyan signed a Russian-brokered peace deal following six weeks of battle that claimed hundreds of lives and noticed swathes of territory in and round Nagorno-Karabakh ceded to Azerbaijan.
The mountainous area is internationally recognised as Azerbaijan’s land, however has been underneath the management of ethnic Armenian forces and self-appointed Armenian officers, backed by Armenia, since an earlier struggle between the rivals concluded in a ceasefire in 1994.
The protests had gone dormant for a spell within the depth of Armenia’s winter, however first resumed on Saturday, when hundreds of demonstrators took to Yerevan’s streets.
“Actions of [civil] disobedience want to proceed for a very long time, the town must be paralysed each occasionally,” mentioned Ayk Mamidzhanyan of the Republican Party of Armenia.
Despite the stress, Pashinyan has refused to step down. He has defended the peace deal as a painful however crucial transfer that prevented Azerbaijan from overrunning the Nagorno-Karabakh area.
In an obvious concession to the protesters, Pashinyan in December raised the prospect of early parliamentary elections this yr. However, Pashinyan’s My Step parliamentary alliance appeared to backtrack on that proposal earlier this month.
Armenia eyes expanded Russian navy presence
Monday’s protests got here as Armenian Defence Minister Vagharshak Harutyunyan mentioned the nation would welcome the growth of a Russian navy base on its territory and the redeployment of some Russian forces nearer to its border with Azerbaijan, following final yr’s battle.
Under the peace deal, which was celebrated in Azerbaijan as an enormous triumph, Russia has deployed about 2,000 peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh for a minimum of 5 years.
Russia additionally has a fully-fledged navy base manned by some 3,000 troops within the Armenian metropolis of Gyumri, close to the Turkish border, underneath a proper defence pact with Armenia.
“The query of increasing and bolstering the Russian navy base on the territory of Armenia has at all times been on the agenda,” Harutyunyan informed Russia’s RIA information company. “The Armenian facet has at all times been on this.”
Harutyunyan didn’t, nonetheless, say whether or not there have been any concrete plans for a possible growth.
Harutyunyan additionally dismissed calls from opposition politicians for the creation of a second Russian base in Armenia’s southern Syunik area, wedged between Azerbaijan and the Azeri exclave of Nakhchivan.
He mentioned he noticed no want for Russia to formally open a second navy base, however added the 2 nations had been contemplating deploying a navy unit from the prevailing base to japanese Armenia, close to the border with Azerbaijan.
Harutyunyan didn’t disclose the aim of the potential redeployment nor its actual location.
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