By Naira Bulghadarian
YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Several members of Armenia’s ruling Civil Contract party and other loyalists of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan have said that refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh participating in opposition rallies in Yerevan must be denied government aid.
Their veiled threats made on social media in recent days follow a series of anti-government protests sparked by Azerbaijan’s September 19-20 military offensive in Karabakh that forced its practically entire population to flee to Armenia. Pashinyan’s political team is reportedly worried that many of the 100,000 or so refugees could join protests organized by Armenian opposition forces blaming the prime minister for the mass exodus and demanding his resignation.
“Deport Karabakh people taking part in demonstrations!” Tatul Asilyan, a Civil Contract member, said in a weekend Facebook post.
“I’m saying this as a citizen of Armenia. an Artsakh Armenian who takes part in demonstrations must be stripped of all kinds of assistance,” wrote Ani Vartazaryan, a village mayor also affiliated with Pashinyan’s party.
Stella Sarukhanyan, a woman who claims to “represent” Pashinyan’s wife Anna Hakobyan, issued an even more ominous warning to refugees taking part in “demonstrations ruining Armenia.”