The Homeland Salvation Movement held a rally on Thursday in support of Armenia’s top military leaders, who earlier in the day had demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The gathering also served as an opportunity for the people to voice their support for Armenia’s Armed Forces.
The Homeland Salvation Movement’s candidate for prime minister, Vazgen Manukyan accused the embattled government of turning the people against the army.
“We are always together [with the army], but today that was further reinforced,” said Manukyan, who, in his remarks, stressed that the army has a constitutional duty to protect Armenia from security threats foreign or domestic.
He called on Armenia’s police force and the national security forces to join the Armenia’s military leadership and “make a similar statement.” Manukyan also called on the ruling My Step bloc lawmakers to leave the legislative faction.
Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia chairman Ishkhan Saghatelyan, who is also the coordinator of the Homeland Salvation Movement, reminded the rally participants that their struggle to topple Pashinyan can take a long time, “however we must forge ahead together.”
The rally participants then headed toward the parliament building, where Manukyan, referenced an earlier statement by Pashinyan who said he was ready to sit down with all political forces including those that have severely criticized him. Manukyan said that the only topic to be discussed with Pashinyan is “how he will leave the government.”
“This is a historic moment,” said Manukyan, telling the rally participants to remain vigilant, patient and strong.
“We will close this streets,” said Manukyan referring to Yerevan’s Baghramyan Street where the parliament building is headquartered. “We will wait. We must bring the parliament members to vote for the prime minister’s ouster. Get ready. We are going to stay here all night… We will barricade this street from both sides.”
And thus, the protesters demanding Pashinyan’s resignation closed Baghramyan Street and pitched tents along its perimeter, vowing to remain there until Pashinyan’s resignation.
The Homeland Salvation Movement also announced another rally, which will take place at 1 p.m. on Friday.