Anti-government protesters block streets in Armenia’s Yerevan

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Anti-government demonstrators took to the streets of Yerevan on Friday for a third day to protest the government’s handling of the crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.

On Wednesday, Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh agreed to lay down arms and dismantle their military, following a lightning offensive by Baku.

That sparked mass anti-government rallies in Yerevan, with opposition parties accusing Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of too many concessions to Baku and demanding his resignation.

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Opposition leaders have announced plans to initiate Pashinyan’s impeachment in parliament.

On Friday morning, small groups of protesters were blocking streets across the Armenian capital, vowing to hamper the holding of Pashinyan’s cabinet meeting scheduled later in the day.

Police detained opposition politician Andranik Tevanyan, one of the protest organizers.

On Wednesday and Thursday, dozens of protesters were detained outside Pashinyan’s offices following riots that saw demonstrators throwing bottles and stones, attempting to break into the building.

Riot police have used stun grenades and warned they would use “special measures” if the clashes continued.

Pashinyan said on Thursday evening that his government “will be acting firmly but in line with law” against the rioters.

“My appeal, the government’s appeal remains the same: remain calm and don’t cross the limits of law in this emotional and difficult time,” he said in a televised address.

Azerbaijan’s Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh had been under Armenian separatists’ control since the 1990s war between Caucasus arch foes.

But in 2020 Baku took revenge in a six-week war which ended in a Russian-brokered ceasefire that saw Armenia cede swathes of territories it had controlled for three decades.

The deal was seen in Armenia as a national humiliation which opposition parties blamed on Pashinyan’s mishandling of the war.

On Tuesday, Azerbaijan launched a military operation to retake the rest of the mountainous territory. Armenia didn’t intervene militarily and the next day separatist authorities agreed to cease hostilities and disband their army.

Read more:

Karabakh Armenians say details of deal with Azerbaijan still need to be worked out

Azerbaijan says six Russian peacekeepers killed during Karabakh offensive

Azerbaijan says it sees amnesty for Karabakh Armenian fighters who lay down arms

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