Armenians throng to the capital to demand prime minister’s resignation

27 May 2024, 03:04

Armenia Protest
Armenia Protest. Picture: PA

The demonstration was the latest in a weeks-long series of gatherings led by high-ranking cleric Bagrat Galstanyan.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators held a protest on Sunday in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, to call for prime minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation after the European nation agreed to hand over control of several border villages to Azerbaijan.

The demonstration was the latest in a weeks-long series of gatherings led by a high-ranking cleric in the Armenian Apostolic Church Bagrat Galstanyan, archbishop of the Tavush diocese in Armenia’s northeast.

He spearheaded the formation of a movement called Tavush For The Homeland after Armenia agreed to cede control of four villages in the region to Azerbaijan in April.

Armenia Protest
Armenian archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan (Stepan Poghosyan/AP)

Although the villages were the movement’s core issue, it has expanded to express a wide array of complaints about Mr Pashinyan and his government.

Movement leaders told the rally on Sunday that they support Mr Galstanyan becoming the next prime minister.

The decision to turn over the villages in Tavush followed the lightning military campaign in September in which Azerbaijan’s military forced ethnic Armenian separatist authorities in the Karabakh region to capitulate.

After Azerbaijan took full control of Karabakh, about 120,000 people fled the region, almost all of its ethnic Armenian population.

Ethnic Armenian fighters backed by Armenian forces had taken control of Karabakh in 1994 at the end of a six-year war. Azerbaijan regained some of the territory in fighting in 2020 which ended in an armistice that brought in a Russian peacekeeper force, which began withdrawing this year.

Mr Pashinyan has said Armenia needs to quickly define the border with Azerbaijan to avoid a new round of hostilities.

By Press Association

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