People gather in the Parliament chamber

Armenian Opposition Parties Plan To Hold A Rally After Demanding Pashinyan’s Resignation

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YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — About two dozen opposition political parties are planning to hold a rally in Yerevan on November 11, one day after demanding that Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan resign.

The move comes after protests triggered by Pashinyan’s announcement earlier on Tuesday, November 10, that he had signed a Russian-brokered agreement with Azerbaijan to end the war over Nagorno-Karabakh to avoid even greater defeats and losses in the battlefield.

Unhappy with the situation, several thousand angry protesters gathered in the Armenian capital in the early hours of the morning, with mobs storming the government headquarters and parliament, ransacking offices and smashing windows in an outburst of anger.

Parliament Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan was injured in a mob attack and hospitalized, drawing a sharp rebuke from the government. He was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery. He is expected to make a full recovery. Two persons have been arrested in connection with the attack.

Still on November 9, 17 opposition parties issued a joint statement calling for Pashinyan’s resignation amid a series of military defeats suffered by Armenia-backed ethnic Armenian forces fighting against Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Among the parties that signed the statement were also the largest parliamentary opposition party, Prosperous Armenia (BHK), led by tycoon Gagik Tsarukian, the former ruling Republican Party of Armenia of ex-President Serzh Sarkisian, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutiun), and the Hayrenik (Homeland) party led by former director of the National Security Service Artur Vanetsian, who was relieved of his duties in 2019 over differences with Pashinyan.

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Unrest in Yerevan started early on November 10 after the news that the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia signed an agreement putting an end to 44-day-long fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh as rioters perceived the deal as surrender.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has called on people not involved in riots to go home after angry protesters stormed government and parliament buildings in Yerevan early on November 10 following the news of a Russia-brokered deal with Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh viewed by them as surrender.

“All those citizens who have nothing to do with the disturbances, please go home. All those citizens who believe me, believe us, please prepare for struggle,” Pashinyan wrote on Facebook, addressing his words to citizens who gathered near the buildings of the government and the National Assembly in Yerevan.

“Do not doubt for a second that we have done anything dishonest. We did not agree to any bargain. I have acted in a way so as to have answers to all questions and be justified in front of my homeland and the people,” Pashinyan said.

“At this difficult time, we must stand side by side against mice stealing seeds. You, who fish in muddy waters, we will still talk,” the premier added in an apparent reference to his political opponents.

The council of these parties issued another statement today, saying that it is inviting a rally in Yerevan on November 11.

“Unfortunately, the most shameful page in our history was written yesterday. An agreement was signed behind the backs of the soldiers defending their land and statehood with their own blood in the battlefield and behind the backs of all of us in the rear. It is crucial at this moment to preserve our collective unity and exclude internal riots and provocations,” the body said.

The parties said that at the rally expected to be held in Yerevan’s Liberty Square on Wednesday afternoon they will present to the public “a way out of the situation.”

The current martial law in Armenia declared at the start of the hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 27 bans public rallies and outlaws demands for the resignation of government officials.

It is not clear at this moment what the government’s reaction to the announcement of a rally will be.

Earlier today two parliamentary opposition parties – the BHK and Bright Armenia – also sought to convene a special session of parliament as protesters gathered outside the National Assembly demanding the annulment of the agreement with Azerbaijan.

BHK lawmaker Naira Zohrabyan said that she did not know what a solution should be, but she added: “First of all, naturally, the current martial law must be ended so that we can bring forth our political agendas.”

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