Police detains 170 protesters in Armenia as anti-Pashinyan movement gains momentum

  • 13 May, 11:48

Over 170 people were shortly detained on Monday as several thousand people blocked streets of Yerevan in protest against Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

As of around 14:00, the police reported that no streets remained blocked and those detained were also released Monday afternoon, local media reported.

The rally participants were protesting against border demarcation with Azerbaijan last month that committed Armenia to return four villages to its neighbour. This marked the first case of border delimitation between the two South Caucasus countries since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Pashinyan’s opponents perceived the move as a concession on his side and demanded the prime minister to take a stronger stance against Azerbaijan.

The planned civil disobedience was announced during a Sunday rally in which protest leader, Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan, said there would be ‘total strikes to paralyse the city’. Galstanyan stated that they had not given up on their plan to oust Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. 

There has been widespread speculation that Galstanyan may be aiming to lead a new government.

Speaking before a demonstration of around 20,000 people in Yerevan on 9 May protest, Galstanyan did not rule out taking the role if the public ‘demanded’ it of him. However, he also admitted to having dual Canadian–Armanian citizenship, which under the current legislation would preclude him from becoming prime minister.

Galstanyan added that the country should undertake a ‘fundamental change’ in foreign policy, excluding both anti-Russian and anti-Western positions and adopting a flexible policy of containment. 

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