Armenian government besieged by protesters

Armenian government besieged by protesters

PanARMENIAN.Net - Protesters led by Archbishop Bagrat Galstanyan poured into Yerevan’s central Republic Square on Thursday, May 30 to try to surround the seat of Armenia’s government during a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, RFE/RL's Armenian service reports.

They besieged the government building located there as part of Galstanyan’s opposition-backed bid to oust Pashinian, which was triggered by the government’s controversial territorial concessions to Azerbaijan.

The protesters blocked with their cars the streets leading to the sprawling square before occupying it. Despite making a number of arrests and impounding some of those cars, riot police failed to restore traffic through the square.

The crowd stayed there for the next five hours. It did not fully surround the building heavily guarded by security forces, with government members seemingly managing to leave from a back entrance.

Pashinyan did not comment on the demonstration during the weekly cabinet session that focused on government efforts to eliminate consequences of Sunday’s severe floods in Armenia’s northern Lori and Tavush provinces. Pashinyan and his allies have dismissed the demands for his resignation, defending the handover of several disputed border areas to Azerbaijan.

Galstaniyan repeatedly branded the premier a “liar and coward” during the protest which he said marked “the most miserable day in his life.”

“He has turned this building into a prison,” the outspoken archbishop told reporters. “Look at these lines of police.”

Galstanyan resumed his daily protests in the capital on Sunday. He enjoys the backing of the vast majority of Armenian opposition groups.

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