Armenian opposition forces, which are leading the “Homeland Salvation” movement called for a nationwide general strike on December 22, during Wednesday’s protests demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
“A nationwide strike and a boycott of university classes in Armenia is declared starting from noon on Tuesday,” said Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia Chariman Ishkhan Saghatelyan. The ARF is one of the parties in a coalition of 16 opposition groups that have been protesting since the November 9 agreement was signed by Pashinyan, which ended the war, but forced the surrender of Armenian territories in Artsakh to Azerbaijan. Since the agreement has been implemented, several border communities in Armenia proper have seen their security challenged as they have come face to face with Azerbaijani armed forces.
“The whole country must be paralyzed so that this puppet [Pashinyan] resigns as soon as possible,” Saghatelyan told protesters who were marching through Yerevan’s center on Wednesday in was is being dubbed a “March for Dignity.”
He said that Tuesday will be “the most decisive day” of the opposition push to oust Pashinyan and install an interim government tasked with holding fresh parliamentary elections within a year.
On Wednesday, Pashinyan, again, rejected the opposition demands during an interview with Azatutyun.am’s Armenian Service. He told Azatutyun’s Artak Hambartsumyan that he still hold the popular mandate to govern the country and the opposition wants to “wrest power from the people.”
“Together we will very quickly drive Nikol, who is clinging to power, out of the government building and he will be held accountable before the Armenian nation,” said another opposition Artur Vanetsian, who was the former director of Armenia’s National Security Service when Pashinyan came to power in 2018.
“These demonstrations are multiplying our power and more people are joining us every day,” Saghatelyan said during a similar protest on Tuesday. “As a result of these actions, we will set the stage for Nikol’s departure in the coming days. The New Year without Nikol!”
A similar large demonstration was also held on Wednesday in Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city, where protesters blocked streets as well as the main road leading into the city.