Yerevan Clash

On Monday, Armenian opposition supporters fought briefly with police in the latest in a series of weeks of Yerevan Clashes over Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s management of disputed territory with arch-foe Azerbaijan.

Since mid-April, the Yerevan Clash opposition groups have held protests calling for Pashinyan’s dismissal, charging him with trying to make unreasonable compromises to Baku over the Nagorno-Karabakh area. Nagorno-Karabakh is the site of a decades-long border dispute between two ex-Soviet Caucasus neighbors. It is located in Muslim-majority Azerbaijan but is mostly populated by Christian Armenians.

Hundreds of demonstrators marched through the Armenian capital, Yerevan, on Monday, before blocking the path to a building that houses government offices. 

Yerevan Clash Caused Several Routes To Be Closed

An AFP correspondent observed the Yerevan Clash when protestors attempted to breach police cordons and access the premises. During the demonstration, parliament deputy speaker and leader of the opposition Ishkhan Saghatelyan asked government personnel to keep their distance from Pashinyan so they don’t “share his responsibility for the country’s ruination.”

Last week, Pashinyan met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Brussels for a new round of EU-mediated peace negotiations.

They have agreed to “advance conversations” on normalizing ties and resolving border delimitation disputes, as well as reactivating transportation communications.

Last Friday, Azeri Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov told reporters that ties with Yerevan were in a “good mood.” More than 6,500 people were killed in six weeks of violence in fall 2020, which concluded with a Russian-brokered ceasefire accord.

Armenia gave up large swaths of land it had controlled for decades, and Russia sent about 2,000 soldiers to monitor the cease-fire.

The accord was viewed as a national disgrace in Armenia, sparking weeks of anti-government rallies, prompting Pashinyan to seek early parliamentary elections in September, which his Civil Contract party won.

Pashinyan has been accused by opposition parties of wanting to hand over portions of Karabakh to Baku that were under Armenian control.

When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1991, ethnic Armenian rebels in Nagorno-Karabakh split away from Azerbaijan. Around 30,000 people died in the subsequent fighting.