Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Ishkhan Saghatelyan was one of dozens of protesters who were dragged on the streets and hauled by law enforcement officials attempting to stifle the protesters.
The ARF is among 16 opposition parties that have formed the “National Salvation Movement,” demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for signing the defeatist November 9 agreement that ended the Karabakh war, but stipulated the surrender of Artsakh territories to Azerbaijan. The movement is calling for a national accord government that will administer snap elections.
The arrests, which have been ongoing during opposition protests, took place Friday morning in downtown Yerevan when protesters, in an act of civil disobedience, attempted to close off the intersection from the France Square to the Yerevan Opera building. The closure of the streets was a common tactic used by Pashinyan during the 2018 people’s movement, which brought him to power. At the time he vocally condemned law enforcement for brutally attacking peaceful protesters.
However, since November 9, Pashinyan has instructed security officials to do unto the opposition what he once vocally condemned as a violation of a person’s right to self-expression.
The National Salvation Movement, which has chosen Vazgen Manukyan as its candidate to lead the interim National Accord government, vowed to continue its protests through civil disobedience after Pashinyan ignored its demand to resign at noon on Tuesday.
Since the opposition began calling for Pashinyan’s resignation, many sectors of Armenia’s civil society have also demanded that the prime minister step down, among them the catholicoi Karekin II and Aram I, as well as President Armen Sarkissian.
Another group of protesters was charged by police. This group was led by ARF Supreme Council of Armenia member Gegham Manukyan, who until last week staged a hunger strike in front of the government building, demanding Pashinyan’s resignation.
The protesters he was leading were marching down Sayat Nova Street when police intervened and detained Manukyan.
Another group of protesters shut down the Vanadzor-Alaverdi interstate highway, demanding Pashinyan’s resignation. Earlier on Friday, protesters also shut down the Yerevan-Sevan highway.
The group has vowed to continue its protests and acts of civil disobedience.