Thousands demonstrate in Armenia and warn of Karabakh concessions 2022-05-01 13:28:25

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The opposition leader says a “large-scale civil disobedience campaign” will begin this week.

Thousands of opposition supporters rallied in the Armenian capital Yerevan to warn the government against making concessions to arch-enemy Azerbaijan over the long-running conflict. Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Opposition parties accused Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of plans to cede all of Karabakh to Azerbaijan after he told lawmakers last month that “the international community calls on Armenia to reduce demands on Karabakh.”

Several thousand opposition supporters gathered, on Sunday, in the square of the French capital, France, and obstructed traffic throughout the center of Yerevan.

Protesters shouted Pashinyan demands his resignationwith many holding banners reading “Karabakh”.

“Any political situation of Karabakh inside Azerbaijan is unacceptable to us,” said the opposition leader and deputy speaker of the National Assembly, Eshkhan Sagatlyan.

“Pashinyan betrayed the trust of the people and he must go,” he told reporters at the rally, adding that the protest movement “will lead to the overthrow of the government in the near future.”

Addressing the crowd, the opposition leader announced that a “large-scale campaign of civil disobedience” would begin next week.

I call on everyone to start the strikes. I invite students not to attend classes. “Traffic will be completely blocked in the center of Yerevan,” he said.

* Threat of unrest

On Saturday, the Armenian National Security Service warned of a “real threat of mass unrest in the country”.

Yerevan and Baku have been in a territorial dispute since the 1990s over Karabakh, the mountainous region of Azerbaijan populated mostly by Armenians. Karabakh was in the middle of a The Six Weeks War in 2020 That killed more than 6,500 people before ending with a cease-fire agreement brokered by Russia.

Under the deal, Armenia relinquished swathes of territory it had held for decades and Russia deployed about 2,000 peacekeepers to oversee the truce.

In April, Pashinyan met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev for rare talks mediated by the European Union in Brussels, after which they met Assigned their foreign ministers To start the “preparatory work for peace talks”.

The meeting followed an escalation in Karabakh on March 25 that saw Azerbaijan seize a strategic village in the region under the responsibility of Russian peacekeepers, killing three separatist soldiers.

Baku in mid-March presented a set of framework proposals for a peace agreement that includes mutual recognition by both sides of its territorial integrity, which means that Yerevan must agree that Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan sparked controversy at home when he said – commenting on the Azerbaijani proposal – that “the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is not a territorial issue, but a question of rights” for the local people of Armenian origin.

Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh seceded from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The ensuing conflicts since then have killed about 30,000 people.

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