Strikes and blocked roads in Armenia: how the opposition is trying to overthrow the PM
In Armenia, after three days of mourning in memory of those killed in the Karabakh war, protests have begun again, and the opposition continues to demand the resignation of the prime minister.
In doing so, it has resorted to the same methods that were used during the ‘velvet’ revolution of 2018 by its leader Nikol Pashinyan. Oppositionists demanding his resignation are also trying to block roads and organize a nationwide strike.
The opposition called December 22 “a decisive day of the struggle” – a rally was held on the main square of Yerevan with the participation of thousands of people. The leaders of the united opposition parties, as well as their single candidate for the post of Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan, made speeches. He called on the army and police to join the opposition movement and together to achieve the resignation of Nikol Pashinyan.
All the details of the opposition rally, which roads in Armenia are blocked, who from the military has resigned and the reaction of PM Pashinyan himself.
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The opposition again spoke about its claims against the prime minister and demanded Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation, as he “betrayed national interests and signed a shameful statement on Karabakh.”
“In two and a half years, he has reached the point where people are already disgusted with pronouncing the name Nikol,” said Gegham Manukyan, a spokesman for the ARF Dashnaktsutyun party.
He even called on the demonstrators to chant not “Armenia without Nikol”, as it was in previous demonstrations, but “Armenia without him”.
Another representative of the Dashnaks, Ishkhan Saghatelyan, spoke about four constitutional, legal mechanisms that will allow for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan:
“The first option – the prime minister himself announces his resignation, the second way – the parliament convenes an extraordinary meeting and discusses the issue of Pashinyan’s resignation, the third way – the Prosecutor General’s Office initiates a criminal case on grounds of treason, the fourth – the government, at the request of 2/3 ministers, convenes an extraordinary meeting and discusses the question of the prime minister’s resignation”.
The opposition, according to Saghatelyan, will work in all four directions.
Opposition candidate for the post of Prime Minister Vazgen Manukyan said that he was “still ashamed of the people, of the state”:
“It’s a shame that we still haven’t thrown this man off [talking about Pashinyan]. I was one of the founders of this state [was the first prime minister of the independent Republic of Armenia] and felt personally responsible for this shameful defeat. But today I look into your eyes and I am proud. I see here the people who proudly look into the future. We will build the state we dreamed of.”
Naira Zohrabyan, representing the Prosperous Armenia Party, stated that from now on, the opposition will conduct daily actions of disobedience “until Nikol Pashinyan resigns.”
After all the speeches, the opposition called on the protesters to surround the government building, blocking all entrances.
Which roads are closed
While a rally was going on in Yerevan, Pashinyan’s opponents blocked the Yerevan-Vanadzor road.
One of the activists of the protest movement Gegham Manukyan told the demonstrators that the Ijevan-Yerevan and Vanadzor-Dilijan roads were also blocked.
“People are demanding Pashinyan’s resignation,” the oppositionist said.
Khachatur Tovmasyan, deputy commander of the special battalion of the patrol and guard service, resigned in protest against the current authorities. This unit is popularly called “red berets”.
Opposition leaders announced this at the rally and read out the officer’s address. In it, Khachatur Tovmasyan says that human and spiritual values are important to him, and he “does not consider it possible to serve a deceitful and self-respecting government, irresponsible people.”
What Nikol Pashinyan thinks
The prime minister called this opposition movement a “riot of the elites” of the former government.
“Deprived of power as a result of the 2018 revolution, the ‘elite’ is trying to achieve revenge,” Nikol Pashinyan wrote on his Facebook page.
According to him, the real confrontation is not between the government and the opposition, but between the “elite” deprived of privileges and the people:
“But in any case, the decisive word will be for the people, because if the people say their word, the“ elite ”will not be able to do anything. Of course, I will do my best to ensure that people do not miss the opportunity to have their say. But at the moment, the priority for us is to ensure the external security of Armenia and Artsakh. In these processes, external security should by no means be called into question. “