Karabakh Tensions

Waving Armenian and Nagorno-Karabakh flags, the Armenia Protest demonstrators pursue a white pickup truck through Yerevan’s downtown streets, chanting “Armenia without Nikol” and “Nikol is a traitor.”

They frequently wear black T-shirts with cross symbols on them, led by young demonstrators in the front, as a memory of camouflage fatigues used by Armenian soldiers during the combat against Azerbaijan.

The demonstrations began on April 27 when two opposition parties led by former leaders Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan walked out of parliament and took to the streets in protest of Pashinyan’s ongoing peace talks with Azerbaijan and the opening of the border with Turkey.

Armenia Protest Sees Several Casualties

Armenia Protest organizers have frequently warned Armenians that if Pashinyan is not deposed, he would compromise Karabakh Armenians’ right to self-determination in discussions with Azerbaijan, and Turkey may refuse to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide as part of the ‘normalization’ talks with Armenia.

Armenia Protest has utilized civil disobedience methods similar to those used by Pashinyan, who rose to power during the Velvet Revolution in 2018.

Four years ago, opposition MP Mikhail Pashinyan led a city-wide operation in Yerevan to block transportation and roadways, which finally helped him depose Sargsyan. However, following Armenia’s defeat in the 2020 Karabakh War, Pashinyan’s administration has been chastised for its handling of the crisis. Hundreds of protesters rallied in central Yerevan at the government’s shortcomings in the aftermath of Azerbaijan‘s defeat, including breaking into parliament buildings.

Protesters’ attempts to stop traffic have been infrequent this time, and the city has not been crippled as it was in 2018. Instead, the demonstrators have exacerbated traffic congestion in the gentrified city center, where there are few options for getting to the suburbs. Hundreds of people were injured as Armenian opposition demonstrators battled with police again, this time against the government’s approach to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Azerbaijan.