YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Tens of thousands of protesters blocked streets and gathered around government buildings in Armenia's capital on Wednesday to demand the prime minister's resignation over his calls for a formal peace agreement with neighboring Azerbaijan.
The demonstrators used cement mixers and trucks to close off roads and bridges leading to the center of Yerevan. They marched, chanting “Armenia without Nikol,” referring to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. Clashes broke out with police and several arrests were reported.
Anti-government demonstrations have taken place almost daily since April 17. The prime minister became a renewed target of rancor after he spoke in parliament about the need to sign a peace deal with Azerbaijan.
The two countries have clashed for decades over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but has been under Armenian control since early 1990s. During a six-week war in 2020, Azerbaijan reclaimed control over some of the region before signing a Russia-brokered truce with Armenia.
“We can speak with the authorities about only one thing – their immediate departure,” said opposition politician Ishkhan Saghatelyan, vice president of the country's parliament. He called on all Armenians to join the civil disobedience and for protests to continue daily.
Police arrested some of the protesters, and security officials warned them against trying to storm the parliament building, but they massed outside, as well as near the Interior Ministry and elsewhere in the capital. Inside parliament, opposition politicians demanded Pashinyan's resignation in his presence. He said he would address the grievances but opponents walked out before he could do so.
This story has been corrected to show that the protesters were blocking roads and bridges, not Armenian authorities.
Avet Demourian, The Associated Press