Karabakh Tensions

On Wednesday, protesters momentarily shut down the metro system in Armenia’s capital.

It was part of escalating anti-government agitation in recent days over prospective concessions over disputed land with neighboring Azerbaijan, according to the metro operator. In recent weeks, Armenia has seen an increase in anti-government rallies over prospective compromises on the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh area with neighboring Azerbaijan.

Protesters briefly shut down metro services in Yerevan on May 18, with social media photos showing agitators obstructing metro carriage doors and stopping trains from running. Protesters chanted anti-government chants and demanded Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation, according to Reuters.

The Protesters Briefly Shut Down The Metro

These demonstrations have been going on for weeks after Pashinyan stated that the global community urged Armenia to lower its demands on the claims to Nagorno-Karabakh. Nagorno-Karabakh is a hilly and densely wooded territory that is recognized as part of Azerbaijan under international law.

The great majority of the inhabitants, however, are ethnic Armenians who oppose Azeri control. These ethnic Armenians have been in administrative control of Nagorno-Karabakh since Azerbaijan’s army was forced out of the territory during a conflict in the 1990s, with Armenian assistance. Conflicts erupted in September 2020, quickly escalating to become the bloodiest since the 1990s.

Azerbaijan, according to Yerevan, reignited the conflict by mounting a military attack, while Baku said it was compelled to respond to the other side’s provocations. Ceasefires mediated by Russia and the US during the last three decades have failed to hold. Since April of this year, Armenians have been protesting against Pashniyan’s handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.