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Tens of thousands rally to demand Armenian PM's resignation

Police clash with demonstrators during a protest rally, in Yerevan, Armenia, Monday, May 2, 2022.
Police clash with demonstrators during a protest rally, in Yerevan, Armenia, Monday, May 2, 2022. Copyright Vahram Baghdasaryan/Photolure via AP, FILE
Copyright Vahram Baghdasaryan/Photolure via AP, FILE
By AP
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Tens of thousands of protesters blocked streets and gathered around government buildings in Armenia's capital.

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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 neighbouring Azerbaijan.

The demonstrators used cement mixers and trucks to close off roads and bridges leading to the centre 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 rancour 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.

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