Armenia: Thousands Rally Demanding Pashinian Step Down Over Border Deal With Azerbaijan


(RFE/RL) — Tens of thousands of Armenians rallied in the center of Yerevan on May 9 amid calls by an outspoken Armenian archbishop for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and his government to resign over a land deal with rival Azerbaijan.

Archbishop Bagrat Galstanian, the leader of the Tavush Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, led the protest in the Armenian capital’s central square against the controversial border-demarcation deal with Baku that cedes control of four villages that were part of Azerbaijan during the Soviet era but which have been controlled by Armenia since the 1990s.

The border agreement has been hailed by the United States and the European Union, as well as by Pashinian, who has been accused by opposition politicians of giving up territory with no guarantees.

Addressing thousands of supporters who gathered in Yerevan’s Republic Square, Galstanian gave Pashinian one hour — until 7:40 p.m. Yerevan time — to announce his resignation.

“You no longer have any kind of power in the Republic of Armenia,” Galstanian said, using the same phrase that Pashinian addressed to his predecessor, then Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian, when he successfully challenged him in large-scale streets protests six years earlier.

The archbishop said he was ready, within the next hour, to meet with Pashinian to discuss “all terms of his resignation,” sparking cheers from the crowd and chants of “Nikol Traitor!” and “Resign!”

When the deadline passed with no apparent response from Pashinian, Galstanian said he would spend the night in the square and urged his supporters to again gather at the same place tomorrow.

Galstanian asked his supporters to be patient for “two or three more days” while he explored the possibility of impeaching Pashinian in parliament.

Pashinian’s political allies and other supporters have verbally attacked Galstanian during protests over the past two weeks.

During an April 30 session of the Armenian parliament, pro-government lawmakers branded Galstanian a Russian spy, accused him of provoking another war with Azerbaijan, and even called on Armenian border guards to forcibly draft the 52-year-old archbishop.

Pashinian has said the unilateral concessions are necessary to prevent Azerbaijani military aggression against Armenia. The Armenian opposition maintains he is actually encouraging Baku to demand more territory from Armenia and to use force for that purpose.

Armenia agreed to the handover as the initial step in defining the frontier between the two rival South Caucasus countries.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars in the last three decades over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which had been a majority ethnic Armenian enclave since the Soviet collapse and is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory.

The region initially came under the control of ethnic Armenian forces, backed by the Armenian military, in separatist fighting that ended in 1994.

In 2020, Azerbaijan took back parts of Nagorno-Karabakh along with seven surrounding districts that Armenian forces had claimed during the earlier conflict.

After Baku took full control over the region as the result of a one-day military operation in September last year, nearly 100,000 ethnic Armenians fled Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.


RFE/RL journalists report the news in 21 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established.

One thought on “Armenia: Thousands Rally Demanding Pashinian Step Down Over Border Deal With Azerbaijan

  • May 10, 2024 at 1:39 am

    They are working for tussians demanding pashinyan to step down but it’s not gone happen in fact all Russians and Russian agents have get out of Armenia church priests do your things in cherish don’t get involve to politic that it’s not your concern


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