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Anti-government protesters clash with police in Armenia

Police officers detain opposition supporters blocking the Armenian Foreign Ministry
Police officers detain opposition supporters blocking the Armenian Foreign Ministry building during anti-government demonstrations in the capital Yerevan on May 24, 2022. (Photo: AFP)
YEREVAN — Armenian opposition supporters clashed briefly with police on Monday during the latest in weeks of protests over Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s handling of a territorial dispute with arch-foe Azerbaijan.اضافة اعلان

Opposition parties have been staging rallies since mid-April to demand Pashinyan’s resignation, accusing him of planning to make unacceptable concessions to Baku over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Nagorno-Karabakh, located in Muslim-majority Azerbaijan but largely populated by Christian Armenians, is the focus of a decades-long territorial dispute between the two ex-Soviet Caucasus neighbors.

On Monday, hundreds of protesters marched through the center of the Armenian capital, Yerevan, before blocking the entrance to a building housing government offices. Clashes erupted after demonstrators attempted to break through police cordons and enter the building, an AFP journalist witnessed.

During the protest, parliament deputy speaker and opposition leader Ishkhan Saghatelyan urged government employees to distance themselves from Pashinyan, so they do not “share his responsibility for ruining the country”. Pashinyan met Azeri President Ilham Aliyev in Brussels last week for a fresh round of European Union-mediated talks on a future peace treaty. They have agreed to “advance discussions” on normalizing ties and on overcoming differences over border delimitation, as well as unblocking transport communications.

Azeri Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov told journalists last Friday there was a “positive atmosphere” in relations with Yerevan. Armenia and Azerbaijan fought two wars — in the 1990s and in 2020 — over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Opposition parties have accused Pashinyan of planning to cede to Baku parts of Karabakh that are still under Armenian control. Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.


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