Armenian opposition unblocks government building, gathers for emergency parliament session to abolish martial law

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YEREVAN, December 22. /ARKA/. Opposition protesters in Yerevan unblocked today evening the government building, stating their intention to continue the protest until their demands are met.

Earlier, the opposition gave the ruling My Step alliance until 18:00 to come to discuss the situation in the country with the leadership of the Movement to Save the Motherland, which demands that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan steps down.

The opposition claims that Pashinyan bears the full responsibility for the Armenian side’s defeat in the recent war with Azerbaijan. Its leaders argue that the prime minister is not capable of confronting new security challenges facing Armenia.

A senior member of ARF Dashnaktsutyun Gegham Manukyan told protesters that despite the unblocking of government building, the protest rally will continue.

Ishkhan Saghatelyan, representative of the ARF Dashnaktsutyun Supreme Body, in turn, said that no response was received from the My Step alliance.

“Unfortunately, at the moment these people do not realize their responsibility. So far we have had no response from the My Step. From now on we will have to speak to each member of My Step,’ he said.

According to Saghatelyan, citizens are free in their actions and decisions, and if the lawmakers do not understand the demands of society, they must be forced to hold an extraordinary session of the parliament.

Saghatelyan said that if the opposition’s demands are not met today, the protesters will remain in the Republic Square through the night.

In the meantime, opposition Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia parties initiated an extraordinary session of the National Assembly to discuss the abolition of the martial law announced late September after the Azerbaijani offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh.

Iveta Tonoyan from the Prosperous Armenia said the government does not want to abolish it in order to limit the actions of the people.

According to her, this is the last chance for MPs from the ruling My Step alliance “to save their face and future.”

Armenian opposition parties, including two parliament represented Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia have been demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan since November 10 when he signed a statement with Russia’s Putin and Azerbaijan’s Aliyev to stop the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Under the statement, Armenian troops were withdrawn from all seven regions surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh.

Opposition parties want a transitional government that would organize early parliamentary elections. Their candidate for the post of transitional prime minister is Armenia’s first post-Soviet prime minister Vazgen Manukyan.

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