Thousands of protesters besiege Armenian capital’s town hall
YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Thousands of opposition supporters rallied in the Armenian capital Wednesday, besieging the mayor’s office for hours as they kept up pressure on the country’s prime minister to step down for seeking a peace treaty with neighboring Azerbaijan.
The demonstrators tried to storm the mayor’s office but were stopped by police, and finally dispersed after a tense showdown that lasted for several hours.
Daily protests have swept Yerevan since last month, with opposition supporters blocking streets and blockading government buildings to push for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Pashinyan became a renewed target of rancor after he spoke in parliament about the need to sign a peace deal with Azerbaijan.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a decades-old dispute over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which lies within Azerbaijan but was under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994.
During a six-week war in 2020, Azerbaijan reclaimed control over a large part of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories that were controlled by Armenian forces. Moscow brokered a peace deal to end the fighting and deployed peacekeepers to the region.
As Armenia and Azerbaijan edged closer to reaching a full-fledged peace agreement this year, opposition forces in Armenia have launched a new wave of protests against Pashinyan’s rule.