The Homeland Salvation Movement organized yet another rally Saturday under the slogan on “Nation, Army Victory,” which drew thousands to Baghramyan Street, where its supporters have been gathered for non-stop protests since last month.
The rally participants demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and expressed their unequivocal support for the leadership of Armenia’s Armed Forces, who have come under attack by Pashinyan who accused them of attempting a coup d’etat in Armenia because they called for his resignation.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation member Gegham Manukyan told the protesters that those who have participated in the movement’s effort in the past several weeks have been strong, especially the youth, who, he said, have been the driving force of the protests. Most of them, Manukyan said, are so humble that they are not boasting that they have fought in the war.
Addressing the protesters, Sevak Nazaryan said that he and his group have been continuing their struggle for 10 days on Baghramyan Street, 24 hours a day, without any complaints and with the aim of creating the free, united and independent Armenia of their dreams.
Also speaking at the rally was the president of attorneys union, Ara Zohranyan, who explained that he was not there due to the position he occupies, but rather as a concerned Armenian, a lay citizen and a former soldier. He had come to Baghramyan Street from a demonstration in front of Armenia’s Defense Ministry, which was organized to show support for the Chief of Staff of Armenia’s Armed Forces, Onik Gasparyan.
Last month, Gasparyan and other high-ranking leaders of the Armed Forces called for Pashinyan resignation, prompting the prime minister to fire him. However, President Sarkissian did not sign the decree for his ouster, with his office saying that he will appeal to the Constitutional Court. The Homeland Salvation Movement has embraced Gasparyan and the Armed Forces leadership calling their actions heroic.
“Fellow Armenians, there are three important institutions on this street—the parliament building, the presidency and the Constitutional Court,” Homeland Salvation Movement coordinator and chair of the ARF Supreme Council of Armenia Ishkhan Saghatelyan told the protesters.
“In the coming days, decisions from these three institutions will have important and detrimental impact for our country,” added Saghatelyan, saying that the people’s voices of protest will be heard from this street in the three institutions.
“We are patiently waging our struggle. This number of people demanding Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation is exponentially larger than those gathered here. I am calling on them: this is not only our homeland it is yours,” said the Homeland Salvation Movement’s candidate for prime minister Vazgen Manukyan. “If you want to join us, then join us. If you don’t want to join us then create your own movements and make decisions. It’s impossible to wait. Our country is dying in front of our eyes.”
At the end of the rally, the protesters began marching through the streets of Yerevan and urged passersby to join their movement.
The marches passed by the foreign ministry and later the prosecutor general’s buildings. When they reached the government building they turned their backs in protest. From there, the marchers went back to Baghramyan Street, where protesters have been camping out for more than 10 days.
“We have to keep this place strong. We have no room for retreat or disappointment,” said Saghatelyan when the crowd arrived back at Baghramyan Street. “On the hand we have the issue of the very existence of our homeland and on the other we have all the difficulties, which we must overcome together.”