In Armenia, 151 demonstrators opposed to a transfer of land to Azerbaijan arrested

Armenian police announced that 151 demonstrators were arrested on Monday, May 13, in the capital, Yerevan, as they protested against the government's decision to cede land to neighboring and arch-rival Azerbaijan as part of peace talks

In Armenia, 151 demonstrators opposed to a transfer of land to Azerbaijan arrested

Armenian police announced that 151 demonstrators were arrested on Monday, May 13, in the capital, Yerevan, as they protested against the government's decision to cede land to neighboring and arch-rival Azerbaijan as part of peace talks. Earlier, the police had mentioned 88 initial arrests for “refusal to comply”. According to the same source, no street in Yerevan is currently blocked.

Armenia, a country in the Caucasus, has been shaken for several weeks by rallies of this type, with the leader of this movement demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.

The latter agreed to hand over to its neighbor four areas surrounding border villages in the Tavouch region, which Yerevan's forces had seized after the first war in Nagorno-Karabakh (1988-1994), which had forced their inhabitants Azerbaijanis to flee. This border region is of strategic interest for Armenia, notably due to the passage of the road axis with Georgia and a Russian gas pipeline.

Fears of a new war

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev assured at the end of April that a peace agreement with Armenia was “closer than ever”. But fears of a new war remain very strong, fueled by the armed clashes which regularly break out at the border. Nikol Pashinian believes that compromises with Baku are necessary to avoid a new conflagration. Especially since Armenia, in a weak position, can no longer count on help from Russia, its traditional ally, which remained passive during the Azerbaijani offensive in September 2023 in Nagorno-Karabakh and is now considered as having betrayed.

In more than thirty years, Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought three wars for control of the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, which Armenians consider the cradle of their homeland. After its victory in the first war, Yerevan suffered a crushing defeat in the second, in the fall of 2020. The last, which occurred at the end of Baku's lightning offensive in September 2023, led to the loss of Nagorno-Karabakh and the forced exodus of the approximately 120,000 Armenians who lived there.