Thousands of Armenian protesters took to the street demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan over a ceasefire that secured territorial advances for Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh after six weeks of conflict.
Azerbaijan & Armenia Sign Armistice Over Nagorno Karabakh
Several hundred marched on parliament in the capital Yerevan, chanting “Nikol is a traitor” as they felt betrayed after Pashinyan signed a deal to end the fighting. “This is a big failure and disaster,” Pashinyan said on Tuesday, adding that he was taking personal responsibility for the setbacks, but he rejected calls to step down.
The agreement ended military action and restored relative calm to the breakaway territory, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but populated and, until recently, fully controlled by ethnic Armenians.
The deal provides for the deployment of 2,000 Russian peacekeeping troops in the region. The peacekeepers have been deployed and are now in control of the Lachin corridor, a key connection between Armenia and the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff, Sergei Rudskoy.
The protesters' main slogan in Yerevan is that Pashinyan is “a traitor,” Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid reported from the scene, saying that there were some sporadic scuffles in an otherwise largely peaceful demonstration.
“They say that Nikol Pashinyan did not have the right to sign the agreement without consulting with the people, they say that it’s not democracy and that he sold out their land,” she said.
According to Abdel-Hamid, at least 20 people were detained at the beginning of the rally, and one of the largest opposition parties said the National Security was questioning its leader.
The opposition party Prosperous Armenia has entered the parliament to discuss the resignation of Pashinyan. However, their power might be limited as they are the minority in parliament.
Turkey and Russia signed an agreement establishing a joint center to monitor the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh on Wednesday morning. The two countries will work together there, said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In a speech to deputies from his ruling AK Party in parliament, Erdogan's comments came after Russian peacekeeping troops were deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh.