Armenian police detain dozens calling for PM Pashinyan to step down

Armenian police on Thursday detained dozens of protesters calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who they say has made unacceptable concessions over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The landlocked South Caucasus country has seen detractors of Pashinyan take to the streets in recent days to block major roads in the capital Yerevan and call on the population to commit acts of civil disobedience.

Local television footage showed police officers grabbing protesters and dragging them into vans. Police in Yerevan said they had detained 49 protesters as of midday.

Pashinyan has faced heavy criticism since Armenia was defeated by Azerbaijan in a six-week war in 2020 and lost significant territory in and around the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Pashinyan angered the opposition last month when he said the international community urged Armenia to “lower the bar” on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh, an enclave internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but populated and until recently fully controlled by ethnic Armenians.

Azerbaijan said last month it was ready for negotiations to on a peace treaty with Armenia, but said Yerevan needed to renounce any territorial claim against the country.

Pashinyan – who said he had agreed to a Russian-brokered ceasefire in 2020 to avoid further losses – said he would not sign any peace deal with Azerbaijan without consulting ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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