Protests in Armenia against land transfer to Azerbaijan

Several hundred Armenians demonstrated on Wednesday, May 15, in Yerevan to protest against the government's intention to cede land to Azerbaijan, its neighbor and great rival, as part of peace talks

Protests in Armenia against land transfer to Azerbaijan

Several hundred Armenians demonstrated on Wednesday, May 15, in Yerevan to protest against the government's intention to cede land to Azerbaijan, its neighbor and great rival, as part of peace talks. Several demonstrations have taken place since April to protest against this decision by the Armenian authorities to hand over to Azerbaijan villages conquered and controlled by Armenia since the 1990s.

On Wednesday evening, large numbers of police surrounded a square in the center of Yerevan, in front of the opera house where Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian was to deliver a speech at an international conference. Hundreds of protesters gathered at the scene at the call of the leader of the movement, the charismatic Archbishop Bagrat Galstanian, who called for the resignation of Nikol Pashinian.

Calls for prime minister to resign

Nikol Pashinian “must resign, otherwise Armenia is ruined,” said one protester, Tigran Balasanian, 54, a salesman. For Nune Sargsian, a 60-year-old housewife, “Pachinian has crossed all possible red lines, he has abandoned the country, he must leave and give Armenia on its knees a chance to get back up.”

Mr. Pashinian's territorial concessions to Baku, which he says he must make to secure peace with Azerbaijan, have triggered demonstrations marked by road blockages. The movement is led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanian, head of the diocese of the Tavouch region, where the villages which are to be returned to Azerbaijan are located.

Dismissal proceedings planned

The prelate wants to launch impeachment proceedings against Mr. Pashinian. Opposition parties would need the support of at least one independent MP or a member of the ruling party to launch impeachment proceedings, the success of which would then depend on the vote of at least eighteen MPs from the ruling party. Nikol Pashinian who would agree to turn against him.

Armenia and Azerbaijan clashed in two wars for control of the Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh, then Baku launched an offensive in 2023 that allowed it to regain control of this territory, by driving out the Armenian separatists who had run it for three decades.