STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL and Artsakh TV) – The second most important official in Nagorno-Karabakh’s leadership and the heads of the local police and security service resigned on Wednesday June 6 following anti-government protests in Stepanakert. See the Artsakh TV video accompanying this article, with English subtitles, as part of the Mirror-Spectator collaboration with Artsakh TV.
The unprecedented protests were sparked by a violent dispute on June 1 between security officers and other local residents. The men came to blows outside a Stepanakert car wash for still unclear reasons. Several of them turned out to be officers of Karabakh’s National Security Service (NSS).
The brawl triggered angry demonstrations against what their participants see as impunity enjoyed by law-enforcement officials and their relatives. They blocked Stepanakert’s main avenue for four days, demanding the resignation of the NSS and police chiefs.
Several individuals, including two NSS officers, were arrested in the immediate aftermath of the incident. The Karabakh government pledged to ensure an objective criminal investigation. These assurances failed to satisfy the protesters, however.
The protests ended only after an appeal from Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The latter urged the protesters on Monday to give Bako Sahakyan, the Karabakh president, more time to draw “concrete conclusions” from the violence.