Yerevan, Armenia – Minutes after Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed an settlement to finish the battle over Nagorno-Karabakh, a recent disaster erupted at dwelling.
Grief and frustration spilled into the streets of the capital Yerevan following the shock announcement within the early hours of Tuesday, that a peace deal had been signed to finish battle within the breakaway enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, together with territorial concessions that favour Azerbaijan and not less than 5 years of a Russian peacekeeping presence.
With demonstrators storming parliament and the seat of presidency within the rapid aftermath, a second day of protest was organised by opposition events and noticed a former prime minister and different well-known public figures give rousing speeches concerning the want for a brand new chief.
Starting on the Opera Theatre, a website important for internet hosting conferences of the unique motion for Nagorno-Karabakh independence within the 1980s, the crowds then marched in convoy – chanting “Nikol, traitor!” – to the seat of presidency, earlier than heading to parliament to name for Pashinyan’s impeachment.
Folks from all walks of life turned out, from ethnic Armenians who had fled to Yerevan from Nagorno-Karabakh amid the violence, to a well-known singer, Sofi Mkheyan; the crowds have been united by anger and the sensation of betrayal.
Massive numbers of riot police prevented a repeat of Tuesday’s demonstrations and plenty of arrests have been made.
Anna Mkrtchyan, 26, a lawyer from Yerevan, was arrested for protesting close to the Opera Theatre. She was taken to the police station however let go just a few hours later.
“I used to be protesting to guard my land, the land that Mr Pashinyan has now introduced to Azerbaijan, the place 1000’s of Armenians have been killed.
“We’re preventing for our motherland and the rights of individuals dwelling in Artsakh,” she mentioned, bristling with ardour and utilizing the Armenian time period for Nagorno-Karabakh.
Management of the area, which is inside Azerbaijan however populated by ethnic Armenians, has been disputed because the 1980s, with many in Yerevan believing it to be an extension of their nation.
A 37-year-old protester, who requested anonymity, found that her aged father had been arrested after seeing cops detain him on a Fb Reside stream of the occasion.
“He is not going to be let go till the protests are over,” she mentioned.
“All we fought for within the revolution, but that is precisely what the earlier authorities would have achieved. Issues are not any completely different. Individuals are annoyed and it’s comprehensible – you want to let individuals protest to grieve the lack of their sons, their land, their dwelling.”
She mentioned she has misplaced a number of pals on the entrance line, and that there was no different possibility now however for Pashinyan to step down.
“In an organization, if one thing goes incorrect, the CEO resigns. We misplaced a battle, however our prime minister remains to be in workplace,” she mentioned.
In additional than a month of preventing, greater than 1,000 individuals have been killed, together with dozens of civilians on either side.
Many ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh fled the area amid the clashes, whereas Azerbaijanis in missile-hit areas additionally sought refuge elsewhere.
“I work with kids who’ve been displaced and I’m going to should see them right now and inform them they will by no means go dwelling as a result of their prime minister gave it away,” mentioned the protester. “If our nation was going to be given away it might have been achieved 44 days in the past and we’d not have misplaced 1000’s of lives.”
Many felt the nation had been cheated as a result of they have been solely instructed concerning the deal after it had occurred. The signing, the crowds mentioned, was undemocratic with out the consensus of the individuals.
Regardless of the depth of feeling within the streets, Richard Giragosian, director of the Regional Research Heart assume tank in Yerevan, mentioned the protests don’t pose a severe sufficient problem for Pashinyan to stop.
“Bolstered by self-confidence, derived from a mixture of pronounced reputation and a uncommon supply of legitimacy from free and truthful elections, the prime minister is unlikely to resign,” he mentioned.
“He has no credible rival or various … However, the frustration is actual, the frustration real.”
The Azerbaijani military had made regular features throughout six weeks of battle.
But the Armenian authorities and defence forces had denied claims of great defeats, resembling shedding the strategic metropolis of Shushi, often known as Shusha.
To many, Pashinyan’s transfer got here as a shock.
Giragosian mentioned the anger could shift in direction of Azerbaijan or Baku’s closet ally Turkey within the coming weeks.
Karineh, who didn’t need to give her surname, 27, was protesting along with her five-year-old son, Arakel, who proudly wore a tiny duplicate of an Armenian military uniform, puffing his chest out for footage.
Her husband had been preventing as a volunteer soldier on the entrance line, even lacking the beginning of their youngest youngster, however returned in despair on Tuesday following the announcement.
“The entire male inhabitants of Armenia have been there and completely satisfied to present away their lives to guard the homeland. My husband was prepared to die to present our nation’s youngsters a greater life,” she mentioned.
“I need to be a soldier sooner or later,” mentioned Arakel, as he pointed to an Armenian flag patch on his proper arm.
“A soldier-scientist,” he corrected himself.