Armenia in a day, Nov. 19 – minibus runs into protesters, new FM appointed, prisoners of war
A new foreign minister has been appointed in Armenia, and diplomacy has been declared the main “front” for the country; a minibus driver almost ran over protesters in Yerevan; the Armenian ombudsman has again demanded the attention of international structures to the violation of the rights of captured Armenians in Azerbaijan.
Below a summary of a rather chaotic day in Armenia on November 19.
- 15 tasks of the PM: how Pashinyan sees Armenia’s way out of the crisis
- Video – Armenians say goodbye to shrines, territories to be transferred to Azerbaijan
New foreign minister
The place of the resigned Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, who participated in the negotiations during the “second Karabakh war”, was taken by his deputy Ara Ayvazyan.
Introducing him as foreign minister, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan emphasized that after the end of hostilities, the diplomatic ‘front’ is the most important for the country. Ara Ayvazyan replied that he understands all the responsibility and will try to do ‘more than possible’ to protect the interests of Armenia.
Incident during the protest action
A minibus almost ran over young people who blocked a crosswalk on the central streets of Yerevan.
They were participants in a protest demanding the resignation of PM Pashinyan. The protest began immediately after the signing of the November 10 truce, which many in Armenia regard as a ‘treacherous conspiracy and the voluntary surrender of Karabakh to Azerbaijan.’
On November 19, in the afternoon, young people blocked traffic on different streets of Yerevan, as happened in the days of the 2018 velvet revolution.
The incident with the minibus, the driver of which did not want to wait for the end of the demonstration and rammed the demonstrators, was recorded on camera. The footage shows how one of the participants in the protest falls and is helped back to their feet. She later told reporters that she was feeling well and did not need medical attention.
The police are already investigating the incident. More than two dozen protesters were reportedly detained during the day. The martial law regime, which prohibits the organization on rallies, has not yet been canceled in Armenia.
Statement of the Ombudsman of Armenia
Arman Tatoyan posted another video from the Azerbaijani segment of social media on Facebook. In his post, the Ombudsman explains that in the video, Azerbaijani servicemen humiliate an elderly man, an ethnic Armenian, subject him to inhuman treatment only because of his ethnicity:
“Hatred in Azerbaijan is so systematic and so encouraged at the highest state level that these servicemen are not interested in the fact that a person is helpless, is of old age and that he has human dignity. […]
One important circumstance: this act is not a separate crime committed by a separate group of military personnel. This act is an integral part of the system of large-scale torture and atrocities, atrocities committed during the September-November 2020 war and encouraged by Azerbaijan at a high level.”
Throughout the war, the office of the Ombudsman of Armenia monitored Azerbaijani publications and social media. All such incidents were recorded and sent to the appropriate international structures.
Statement of the former head of the military control service of the Ministry of Defense
Movses Hakobyan said that he intended to resign at the height of hostilities, but postponed his resignation until the end of the war. The final decision was made after the scandalous post of the Prime Minister on social networks, which was perceived by many as a call for civil war.
During the press conference, Movses Hakobyan claimed that throughout the war, lies were spread which have now led to the political crisis. The former head of the General Staff also said that the Prime Minister’s wife was allegedly at the command post where the military meetings were held, and he asked her to leave. In his opinion, it was because of this incident that he himself was forbidden to appear at the command post.
The Prime Minister’s press secretary commented on Hakobyan’s speech. Mane Gevorgyan wrote on her Facebook page that all statements of the general are considered in the context of slander and false testimony, and law enforcement agencies should take up the statements of Colonel General Movses Hakobyan and assess them.
The press secretary of the prime minister also said that Pashinyan considers the general’s accusations far-fetched and ridiculous and will comment on them on the correct occasion.
The Armenian Ministry of Defense issued a statement that the information provided by Hakobyan ’does not correspond to reality.’