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VIDEOS: Massive Protest in Yerevan Demanding Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s Resignation

Tavush for the Homeland arrives in Yerevan

Today, May 9, 2024, marks a significant moment in Armenia, not only because it's the day the nation commemorates a trio of historic events—the victory in the Great Patriotic War, the Liberation of Shushi, and the establishment of the Artsakh Defense Army—but also because the Tavush for the Homeland movement officially reached Yerevan. This movement, led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan of the Tavush Diocese, has quickly turned into one of the largest anti-government demonstrations Armenia has seen in years.

The protests began in Kirants, a village in the northern Tavush province, which is at the heart of the controversy surrounding the Armenian government’s proposed territorial concessions to Azerbaijan. These concessions, which involve the handover of border areas adjacent to Kirants and three other villages, are staunchly opposed by local residents. They argue that the handover would leave their communities isolated and vulnerable to potential Azerbaijani aggression.

Archbishop Galstanyan, a vocal critic of the Armenian government’s policies, has been at the forefront of these protests. In a powerful rally held in Yerevan’s central Republic Square, he condemned the government's actions as "an illegal unilateral process" and demanded that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan resign. Galstanyan accused Pashinyan of deceiving and threatening the people of these communities during his visits, stating, “We have come here to demand answers for those threats.”

The Archbishop gave Pashinyan an ultimatum to resign within an hour, a demand that was not met, prompting Galstanyan to call for a parliamentary vote of no confidence in the prime minister. He announced plans to discuss this possibility with lawmakers, revealing that representatives from two opposition groups in the Armenian parliament had agreed to initiate a motion of censure in the coming days.

In addition to political maneuvers, Galstanyan also declared that starting Friday morning, the movement would engage in "peaceful actions of civil disobedience" both in and outside Yerevan. He committed to spending the night in Republic Square to continue the protest.

The response from the government has been tense, with Armenia’s police and National Security Service issuing warnings against actions that violate public order. Prime Minister Pashinyan, who has faced personal attacks from political allies of the Archbishop in recent weeks, has accused the protest leaders of trying to provoke a war with Azerbaijan to topple his government. He asserted that conceding to their demands would lead to an Azerbaijani invasion.

Despite these accusations, opposition leaders and a significant portion of the public have dismissed Pashinyan’s claims as unfounded. They argue that it is Pashinyan’s actions that are encouraging Baku to demand more territory and potentially use force.

As the country's main opposition forces have shown support for the Tavush protests, it is clear that while they may not be leading the campaign, their involvement and endorsement lend significant weight to the movement. Additionally, diaspora organizations from around the world have also shown their support for the movement.

The unfolding events in Yerevan represent a crucial juncture for Armenia, as citizens and leaders alike grapple with issues of governance, territorial integrity, and national security.


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